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0001 0214667 1 


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-M8LSEPJL7 1989. 

:J 34092 - 
JUN 5 1991 















First printed in England, January, 1912 
Reprinted, February, 1912 

New Impression, September, 1913 

New Impression, May, 1921 
Two Volumes in One: September, 192*? 

Jirst printed in the United States, February, 1912 
Reprinted, March, 1912 ; October, 1912 

JMew Impression, September, 1913 

;->U ' J( ' M* 9 'SB 

Made in Great Britain 










IN order that an Edition of the ' Life of Cardinal 
Newman/ by Mr. Wilfrid Ward, might be published 
at the lowest practicable price, the appendices are 
omitted in this issue. The references are however 
left in the Index, and all those to pages beyond 614 
in Vol. I and 537 in Vol. II are to the Edition in 
two separate volumes. 

Should any questions arise as to Mr. Ward's 
statements of Cardinal Newman's views, it would be 
necessary to make reference to the appendices, in 
which the pieces justificatives are contained. 



Prom a Painting by W. W. Oitless^ R.A., at tht Oratory, Birming- 
ham. (Reproduced by kind permission of Messrs. Burns, Dates, $ 
Washbourne, Ltd., the owners of the copyright.) 






III. LAST DAYS AT LITTLEMORE (1845-1846) ... 79 

IV. MARYVALE (1846) 119 

V. MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 135 


VII. THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) .... 197 


IX. THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) .... 252 

X. THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 275 


XII. PROGRESS OF THE UNIVERSITY (1855-1857) . . 344 

XIII. UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) .... 390 

XIV. NEW UNDERTAKINGS (1857-1859) . . . . .417 
XV. LIBERAL CATHOLICISM . . . * . . , .458 

XVI. CATHOLIC REVIEWS (1858-1859) 478 

XVII. THE ' RAMBLER ' AND ROME (1859-1862) ... 501 


XIX. SAD DAYS (1859-1864) 568 






XXI. CATHOLICS AT OXFORD (1864-1865) 47 

XXII. A NEW ARCHBISHOP (1865-1866) .... 79 

XXIII. THE ( EIRENICON' (1865-1866) . ... 99 

XXIV. OXFORD AGAIN (1866-1867) 121 



XXVII. PAPAL INFALLIBILITY (1867-1868) ... 200 


XXIX. THE VATICAN COUNCIL (1869-1870) , 279 

XXX. LIFE AT THE ORATORY . . . . . * 313 

XXXI. AFTER THE COUNCIL (1871-1874) . . . 371 


XXXIII. THE CARDINALATE (1879) .*.*.. 433 

XXXIV. FINAL TASKS (1880-1886) 472 

XXXV. LAST YEARS (1881-1890) 512 

INDEX ... c 539 




IT is due to the readers of this work that the biographer, 
in view of the anticipations which may have been formed 
as to what the Life of Cardinal Newman ought to contain, 
should indicate at starting the nature of the material placed 
at his disposal, and the treatment to which it has been 
found naturally to lend itself. The chief material for the 
biography consists in Newman's journals and diaries and in 
the immense mass of letters collected and arranged by his 
literary executor, the late Father Neville. It includes likewise 
groups of his letters arranged and annotated by the writer 
himself. There are notes of some value written by Father 
Neville recording the Cardinal's sayings and habits; and the 
late Father Ignatius Dudley Ryder placed at the disposal of 
the biographer a very interesting record based largely on his 
own conversations with Newman. 

The general trend of the biography of a man of action 
is determined by the public events in which he has taken 
part; but the life of one whose fame rests mainly on his 
writings leaves wider room for conjecture as to its scope, and 
in some cases for hesitation on the part of its writer as to 
the lines on which it should be planned. The expectations 


formed by different readers are likely to be determined by 
what the subject of the biography mainly represents in the 
eyes of each. And in Newman's case different readers are 
for this reason likely to have very different anticipations. 

John Henry Newman is indeed himself a remarkable 
instance of one of his own most characteristic contentions, 
that the same object may be seen by different onlookers 
under aspects so various and partial as to make their views, 
from their inadequacy, appear occasionally even contra- 
dictory. A very able German Catholic critic recently said 
to the present writer, 'Newman is the originator of the 
theory of development in dogma he is that or he is 
nothing. 3 This critic took the famous Essay on its theoretical 
and philosophical side. But while to some Newman is thus 
before all things a religious philosopher and he has often 
been compared with Pascal there are others, like Lord Mor- 
ley, who appear to see in him little more than a great master 
of English prose who is hardly to be reckoned a thinker at 
all. 1 By yet others he has been placed in the category of the 
great ecclesiastical writers in history, the eloquence and force 
in some of his later sermons suggesting a comparison with 
Bossuet, 2 his personal charm and delicate balance of mind 
recalling Fenelon. English Catholics think of him primarily 
as the great defender of their religion against Mr. Kingsley, 
Dr. Pusey, and Mr. Gladstone; as the man who has annihi- 
lated by his brilliant irony both High Church Anglicanism and 
the bombast of Exeter Hall in the lectures of 1849 and 1851. 
Yet the champion who entered the lists on behalf of the 
Roman claims in 1849 is still hailed by many as the founder 
of modern Anglicanism. There are, on the other hand, 
thousands for whom Newman's writings belong, to use Dean 
Stanley's phrase 'not to provincial dogma, but to the litera- 
ture of all time. 7 He is for them the author of the Oxford 
Sermons, with their matchless insight into human nature; the 
religious poet who wrote the 'Dream of Gerontius' and *Lead, 

1 See Lord Morley's Miscellanies (Fourth Series) (Macmillan), p. 16 x. 

2 Dean Church has truly said that Newman's Oxford Sermons are not 
the sermons of an orator. It is chiefly the Sermons to Mixed Congregations, 
preached at the Oratory, that give material for the comparison. The contrast 
between the style of the two periods of his preaching has been admirably drawn 
out by the late Mr. Hutton in his 'Cardinal Newman* (Methuen). 


kindly Light '; while the ' Apologia' belongs in their eyes 
to the literature of self-revelation, not to apologetic. To 
others, again, he is the theologian who has an almost -un- 
equalled knowledge of the first three centuries of Church 
history. Such was Dollinger's estimate of him. 1 And by 
some he was for long chiefly thought of as the greatest 
exponent of the views of the minority at the Vatican Council. 

There is enough, then, in Newman's writing to suggest 
a wide range of interest for his biography and varied pos- 
sibilities as to its main direction. And it will be asked if 
the letters lend themselves naturally to a work which should 
be in the main the Life of a writer and thinker, including, as 
do the Lives of Kant and Hegel, a record of the genesis of 
his thought and its incidence on opinion. 

The answer must be that the correspondence points to a 
biography which is rather an addition to his writings than an 
illustration of them. There are, indeed, to be found in Father 
Neville's collection instances of brilliant and masterly con- 
troversial letters, and letters bearing on his theological and 
historical writings. But, on the whole, the story of his life 
which is found in the correspondence carries the readers of 
Newman into a new country rather than illustrates one that 
they knew already. Some of the features above contemplated 
must necessarily be altogether absent from the biography. 
Of the Newman specially dear to Anglicans the leader of 
the Oxford Movement most of the letters have already 
been published by Miss Mozley; and it is at the Cardinal's 
own desire that his present biographer has not added to the 
record given in those letters and in the ' Apologia.' Only 
one chapter of the present work deals with the period pre- 
ceding 1845. 

The comparisons which have been drawn between 
Newman and Pascal, Fnelon, and Bossuet have no doubt, 
some value and literary interest, and are incidentally 
illustrated in the Cardinal's letters and journals. ^JFor, 
example, his dealings with the so-called 'Liberal Catholics,' 
so fully set forth in his correspondence with Lord Acton 
and Mr, Simpson, present a close resemblance to the atti- 
tude of Ffenelon in the Quietist controversy. We have the 

1 See p. 444. 

B 2 


same opposition to extremes on either side, the same hostility 
on the part of the dominant theological party, the same loyal 
submission to Rome, the same jealous vindication of personal 
orthodoxy. But the net result of Newman's letters is to en- 
force not similarities, but differences to show that Newman's 
mind and character presented marked and peculiar charac- 
teristics of their own. The interest of the letters and journals 
is not to be found in the comparisons they suggest with other 
great Churchmen or in the light they cast on his published 
writings, but rather in the drama of his life and the picture 
of a very individual mind and character. They give a sequel 
of extraordinary interest to the narrative portion of the 
1 Apologia.' To this all that bears on his theology or on 
his literary work is subordinate. The story more than 
once threatens to prove a tragedy, but ends, as it begins, 
in peace and happiness. 

This drama, exhibited at length in the present work by his 
own words, must here be briefly indicated lest its outline be 
lost or blurred for the reader as he threads his way through an 
intricate correspondence. Newman's life-story must, more- 
over, be looked at as a whole, and from the beginning, that its 
interest may be fully realised. We must have before us the 
child whose imagination ran on unknown influences and 
magical talismans, who thought life might be a dream and the 
material world unreal; the youth who was at sixteen pro- 
foundly conscious of an inward conversion and believed him- 
self 'elected to eternal glory/ and who henceforth rested in 
the thought of himself and his Creator as the only two 
luminously self-evident beings. 1 Then after the brilliant 
apprenticeship at Oxford and the few years in which the 
'Oxford Plato/ 2 the friend of Blanco White and of Whately, 
showed some tendency towards intellectualism, we see him 
from 1828 onwards undergoing a profound religious reaction, 
which grew into the conviction that he had a definite mission 
in life. 3 

And what was that mission? It was one of relentless 
war against the * Liberalism ' in thought that was breaking 
up ancient institutions in Church and State, and would not 
cease from its work until it had destroyed religion. In 

1 Apologia, p. 4. 2 Vide infra, p. 38. 3 Apologia, p. 34. 


England its aims were comparatively moderate and its ten- 
dencies disguised, but we are now witnessing its inevitable 
results in Continental Europe. Newman foresaw them in 
1828. He saw fresh symptoms of an un-Christian movement 
in the revolution of 1830 in France, and on one occasion 
refused even to look at the tricolor that was hoisted on the 
mast of a French ship. 1 It was not his way to spread a 
panic or to indulge in alarmist talk of the incoming flood of 
infidelity. But this was in reality, as we know from a letter 
written in old age, the anticipation which early haunted him. 
We learn from this letter that for fifty years he had looked 
forward to the gradual rising of such a flood until 'only the 
tops of the mountains will be seen like islands in the waste of 
waters/ 2 To rescue his own countrymen from this danger, 
or to show them an ark of safety, appeared to be a mission 
specially suited to one keenly alive to the plausibility of 
scepticism, yet profoundly convinced that modern science 
and research were compatible with Christianity, 3 and that in 
Christianity alone could be found the meaning of life and 
the happiness of mankind. The work was to be done not by 
talking of unbelief before the world at large saw it coming, 
not by alarming the simple souls who were to be the soldiers 
of the truth; but by strengthening the English Church as 
the home of dogmatic religion; by imparting intellectual 
depth to its traditional theology and spiritual life to its 
institutions; by strengthening and renewing the almost 
broken links which bound the Church of England to the 
Church Catholic of the great ages the Church of Augustine 
and Athanasius. And this was the object of the Oxford 
Movement of 1833. 

In five short years the dream of his mission became a 
reality; it had been accepted in Oxford and beyond it, and 
had amazed him by its results. Followers literally crowded 
to his standard, and one who desired only to work for 
a cause found himself against his own will the leader of a 
great movement. 

1 Apologia, p. 33. 2 Vide infra, Vol. II. p. 416. 

8 I need not remind the reader that he ascribed their actual irreligious 
tendency not to the genuine scientific method, but to the naturalistic assump- 
tions of eminent scientists. 


In 1838 he exercised a kingship in Oxford extending far 
beyond the ranks of a party an influence so extraordinary 
that the tradition of it is now no longer realised and only 
half believed. For it makes a claim for one man which 
seems hyperbolical and improbable; but in fact the improb- 
able had occurred. Whether Oxford was right or wrong, it re- 
cognised in the personality which dominated it, in the sermons 
at St. Mary's, and the Tracts, a Christian thinker of unique 
genius and insight. Let the present writer add to the testi- 
monies of those who speak in the text of this work the words 
of yet another, 1 who owned that he was bearing witness to a 
marvel. 'Was there ever in history anything like Newman's 
power over us at Oxford? 7 were words familiar to the writer 
from early boyhood. And Newman's influence was for all 
England as well, for the Movement promised to spread. 
i Let Newman mould the Church and Gladstone 
stamp the State. 3 

Such was the dream of England's future which haunted 
young Oxford. 2 

This early victorious achievement and leadership and the 
hopes it inspired threw on Newman's later history both a 
light and a shadow which were never to be removed. 

To develop the great Movement in the Church of England 
by reasserting its Catholic elements was a task which the 
traditions of Oxford, his own affection for the Anglican 
Liturgy, and his keen sympathy with the English divines of 
the seventeenth century combined to make a labour of love. 
This congenial and resplendent armoury had to be set aside 
in a few years. The Church of England itself had been, he 
came to hold, unfaithful to that very Catholic tradition which 
he was rescuing and rebuilding as an ark of safety from the 
flood of Liberalism and Rationalism. The early Fathers still 
remained to stir his imagination, and they shone out as 
guiding stars, but they were more distant than England and 
Oxford. They were a vision for his guidance, but they had 
not the special warmth belonging to the home of his youth. 
And from that home he was now to be torn for ever. 

We have all read in the ' Apologia' of the agony of the 

1 William George Ward. 

2 See Archbishop Alexander's poem, Oxford in 1845. 


death-struggle. The mission, the reality of which had been so 
strongly borne in on him, was to be carried on not among the 
friends of his youth, but in a strange country. Thither he 
went, taking with him as the link between his old life and his 
new his henceforth inseparable friend Ambrose St. John, whom 
the people of Rome in 1847 called his guardian angel. We 
witness his heartache as he parts from Littlemore, and kisses 
the leaves of the Oxford trees. The sadness is intense; but 
God's ways are marvellous. And the sense of God's presence 
is with him still The Divine Hand had been visible in the 
work of the Movement, and its author had been wonderfully 
led onwards. The writing on the wall in 1839 the thought, 
'Rome will be found right after air had been followed by 
other signs pointing in the same direction. Rome had long 
been the object of his fiercest invective. Yet now it was 
along the road to Rome that God bade him travel. The 
journey of 1845 was then desolate, but still wonderful, still 
speaking of Divine guidance and a Divine plan. Personal 
suffering, and perhaps personal failure, seemed to be marked 
out as the conditions of success for his mission. The ways 
of the strange country were hard to learn. The tasks he 
was set proved trying. But we see him beginning his new 
life with a profound sense that he had come to the promised 
land. The ' blessed vision of peace 7 1 stood out before him 
as he recognised in the Roman Communion the Church of 
Athanasius, and that vision shed a light on his path. As 
he had been brought to his great work for Oxford by 
circumstances, and with hardly any personal effort, so, he 
doubted not, it would be again. 

And the years from 1845 to l8 S 2 brought nothing to dim 
such anticipations. The Catholic Church was, he believed, 
now, as in the early ages, to triumph by the suffering of its 
apostles; and the insults of the No-popery rioters in 1850, and 
again his trial for the pretended libel against Dr. Achilli 
in 1852, were looked upon as so much suffering in the good 
cause. There was much weariness, much distress, much 
anxiety; yet God's hand was still visible. 

Then came a time of trial, long-drawn-out, when the hand 
of God seemed withdrawn, and not only was his life beset 
1 Essay on Development, p. 445- 


with trouble, but the labour of many years proved to be appar- 
ently without result, even without meaning. He was asked 
to undertake the formation of a Catholic University in Ireland. 
Is this at last, he seems to ask, destined to be the great work 
of his life? Is this to be the field for his mission in his new 
home? There were facts which made such a supposition not 
inconceivable. The immense success of Louvain University 
in Catholic Belgium a private enterprise at first, and un- 
recognised by the State was by this time an accomplished 
fact. And a University for the English-speaking races in a 
land where the Catholic population exceeded that of Belgium 
was not on the face of it a Utopian conception. The Holy 
Father had given special approval to the Irish scheme. It 
was set on foot as part of the deliberate policy of the Holy 
See of establishing Catholic centres of learning, and oppos- 
ing 'mixed' education at the State Universities. Again, the 
scheme gave him a direct call to deal with what he more and 
more regarded as his own especial work the formation of 
educated Christian minds capable of resisting the increasing 
tide of infidel thought. This would be the renewal of his 
work at Oxford, but with the world-wide Church to back 
him, and the Rock of Peter to support him. On the other 
hand, the task was immensely arduous, and his keen and 
observant mind was gradually made alive to many adverse 
omens to signs of general indifference to the scheme in Ire- 
land, to symptoms that it could never do the great work for 
English Catholics which he had at first pictured, but would 
be a purely Irish College, disapproved, moreover, as impractic- 
able by the best representatives of the interests of education 
among the Irish themselves. Here were the factors in a 
trial which eventually broke his spirit. There was an inevit- 
able hesitation, and then faith was invoked by him against 
sight, and in the end sight won a tragic victory. At first 
he seems to rebuke his own want of trust* Peter had 
spoken, and if necessary would even work a marvel His- 
tory told him he said it in burning words that to follow 
the lead, of Rome was to prosper. But the cold, un- 
promising, uninspiring facts gradually chilled him by their 
dull pressure. He was now at an age when as he him- 
self kept saying nature no longer supplied the energy 


and enthusiasm necessary for the initiation of difficult tasks. 
His antecedents gave him no habit of such initiation, 
for at Oxford he inherited an already formed system and 
existing traditions, and himself contributed only the living 
force of genius in his sermons and lectures. He was 
working amid a race which was strange to him. The Irish 
Primate, seemingly suspicious of his plans, hindered rather 
than helped him. Other bishops stood his friends; but the 
circumstances of the country made the scheme impracticable. 
He made a sustained effort which involved an unnatural 
strain. He held fast by the presumption that in attempting 
a work with such high sanction he was obeying a call from 
God; and he kept assuring himself that if only he had faith 
enough all would prosper. With his intense realisation of 
advancing life he watched, powerless to stop them, the years 
of still vigorous life passing for ever. He became aware of 
the utter failure to which at first he would not own. He 
keeps writing to his friends of satisfaction and success 
until suddenly he breaks down. He compares the founders 
of the University to Frankenstein. They were c scared at 
their own monster. 7 He resigns his office. But the long 
strain has been too much. Buoyancy is gone for ever. He 
finds himself an old man. He writes to W. G. Ward that 
he looks now for paralysis or some sudden end to his days. 
There is no faltering in his loyalty to Rome. But in this, as 
in other feelings, buoyancy has left him. The thought that 
almost a miracle might come if he followed Peter's lead as 
sadly allowed to have been in this case a dream and not a 
vision. The authorities at Rome had not realised the con- 
ditions which prevailed in Ireland. They had relied on local 
information which proved to be inaccurate. It was a simple 
and not surprising fact. It impugned no dogma of his faith. 
But it meant that the years had passed, not in justifying for 
him an almost prophetic vision in the face of chilling criticism, 
but in finding by experience that the critics had been right 
and his work vain, 

Not, then, by founding a great University was he destined 
to help the Catholic and Christian cause. All he could now 
hope for was to add something to his writings on behalf of 
religion during the few years that remained to him of life. 



This thought is but a faint flicker of the old flame. He has 
no heart now to speak of a great mission. But even this view 
of God's will for him received little external encouragement. 
The English Bishops, it is true, now asked him to edit a 
translation of the Scriptures into the vernacular, and he 
planned and began an essay on the philosophy of the sacred 
narrative an antidote to such naturalistic treatment of 
Holy Writ as Renan's 'Histoired'IsraeP as its Introduction. 
But the whole scheme was abandoned owing apparently to the 
apathy of Cardinal Wiseman. Then he tried to guide the 
thought of the intellectual Catholics who under the editor- 
ship of the late Lord Acton were conducting the Rambler 
Review, but met again with powerful opposition. He became 
its editor, but he was asked to resign after his first number, 
and delated to Rome for heresy after his second. 

This was in 1859: and 1860 saw the development of that 
zealous but intolerant movement of Catholics in defence of 
the Holy See which the invasion of the Papal States brought 
about, when all balanced thought, especially in relation to the 
Temporal Power of the Pope, was liable to be accused of 
dangerous Liberalism; when in France Dupanloup, Montalem- 
bert, and Lacordaire were denounced by M. Veuillot and his 
friends as unsound Catholics; when, to use Newman's own 
words, 'a man who was not extravagant was thought treacher- 
ous.' And Newman found himself suspected and 'under a 
cloud/ Yet in all he had done, in all he had written, he had 
prayed earnestly for guidance that he might know God's will. 
Where now was his mission? Where was his work for the 
great cause? He submitted in silence and resignation. His 
spiritual life indeed found now, as ever, its 'perfect peace 
and contentment' in the Catholic religion. But otherwise it 
was a time of darkness and gloom; and there came to him 
some of the special bitterness that falls to the lot of a dis- 
crowned king or a forsaken prophet. He thought himself an 
old man. His health was bad, and he made ready for death. 
His books had already ceased to sell, and now he ceased to 
write. His very name was hardly known to the rising gene- 
ration. Had he died directly after his sixty-third birthday 
at an age which would have fallen not very far short of the 
allotted days of man on earth his career would have lived in 


history as ending in the saddest of failures. His unparalleled 
eminence in 1837 would have been contrasted by historians 
with his utter insignificance in 1863. His biography would 
have been a tragedy. 

Then in 1864 came Charles Kingsley's memorable 
attack, and Newman saw in it an opportunity for a vindi- 
cation of his whole career before the English public from the 
accusation of insincerity, and of defending the Catholic cause 
on the lines which he felt so necessary for the times. The 
brilliant strategical sallies in pamphlet form by which he 
at once secured universal attention, and then the graver 
chapters which are now known as the c Apologia pro 
Vita Sua/ won the heart of England. Middle-aged men long 
separated from him, but who had once sat at his feet at 
Oxford, now came forward to tell a world that had forgotten 
him all that the name c Newman' had once meant. An 
article of seven columns in the Times on his first public 
appearance after the campaign of the c Apologia' bore decisive 
testimony to a wonderful recovery. 

Thenceforth John Henry Newman was a great figure in 
the eyes of his countrymen. English Catholics were grateful 
to him and proud of having for their champion one of whom 
the country itself had become suddenly proud as a great 
writer and a spiritual genius. He had a large following within 
the Catholic Church, who hung on his words as his Oxford 
disciples had done thirty years earlier. Opposition in in- 
fluential quarters continued. But his supporters among the 
Bishops stood their ground, and the battle was on far more 
equal terms than heretofore. 

Still, a reaction in his favour which inspired him with 
great hopes for the future did not entirely justify those 
hopes. He continued to concentrate his attention on the 
educational needs of earnest and thoughtful minds whose 
faith would be tried in coming years. The Catholic Univer- 
sity had failed. The only available University training for 
English Catholics was at Oxford and Cambridge. In 1864, 
and again in 1866, he planned an Oratory for Oxford, 
hoping to influence the intellectual life of the place, so 
largely affected at that time by the philosophy of John 
Stuart Mill, and to be a spiritual and intellectual guide 


to the Catholic undergraduates. But Manning and W. G. 
Ward were enforcing in England In an uncompromising 
form the opposition to i mixed' education to which Rome 
was largely committed on the Continent. Newman's scheme 
was out of harmony with their views. Manning was already, 
when it was first mooted, all-powerful with Cardinal 
Wiseman, and a year later he was Archbishop. Rome, 
therefore, naturally endorsed his policy, and Newman's 
project was defeated. This was his last hope of active work 
as a Catholic. The dramatic story of its initial encourage- 
ment, of the happy dreams to which it at first led, and of 
its final defeat, is told in the present biography. 

Newman then set himself to write his great work on the 
question that had haunted him through life the reasonable- 
ness of religious belief his 'Essay in Aid of a Grammar of 
Assent.' And at the same time came the beginning of the- 
controversies which preceded the Vatican Council. The men 
who had opposed and defeated him on the Oxford scheme 
were among the chief agitators for the definition of Papal 
Infallibility. Newman had ever held that doctrine much as 
Fenelon had held it. But it was now put forward in the, 
newspapers, by M. Louis Veuillot and others, in an untheo- 
logical and exaggerated form, and Newman dreaded a 
definition which might be regarded by the world as giving 
countenance to excesses he deplored. He stigmatised these 
writers and their followers, in a well-known letter, as 'an 
insolent and aggressive faction.' In so far as the passing of 
the definition increased the influence of this c faction 5 it was 
to Newman a blow; although its actual text expressed the 
dogma as he had always himself held it. His distress was 
sensibly alleviated, however, very soon afterwards by the 
action of Bishop Fessler, the Secretary-General to the 
Council, and others, in protesting against exaggerated 
and untheological interpretations of the definition. New- 
man expressed his own views on the subject in the 
published letter of 1875 to the Duke of Norfolk. This 
letter was received by Catholics with enthusiastic, almost 
universal, acclamation. Its reception was indeed a moment 
of triumph for Newman; and then Ambrose St. John, his 
beloved and inseparable friend, in the midst of their joy was 


suddenly taken from him. Life was now indeed over, and his 
career as a Catholic had been in one respect at least he 
could not deny it a supreme disappointment. The desire 
of his heart had been that he should speak with the whole 
weight of the great historic Church and of the Holy See 
unmistakably at his back. His words would thus have ten- 
fold force. The Catholic Church alone could, as he felt and 
said even at his darkest moments, withstand the social 
and intellectual movement on behalf of unbelief. But to 
speak with her authority was just what appeared to be 
denied him. His critics still whispered that he was not to 

In point of fact, the failure of his successive endeavours 
not entirely an accident. He was, as he said, out of 
joint with the times. He had formed a definite idea of the 
4-work at which he should aim as a Catholic in view of the 
<3\special dangers of the hour; and the powerful movement on 
behalf of uniformity and centralisation which marked the 
period from 1850 to 1870 made its accomplishment almost 
impossible. He was keenly in sympathy with the general 
Bairns of such men as Montalembert, Lacordaire, and Frederic 
^Ozanam, who regarded it as the great need of the times that 
the Catholic Faith should be explained in such a way as to 
appeal to the educated classes among their contemporaries. 
And his own immediate concern was to make it persuasive 
Mo his own countrymen. For this purpose in his opinion a 
provisional freedom in the discussion of new problems and 

certain translation of traditionary expressions into more 
^familiar language were required. On the other hand, what 
Archbishop Sibour of Paris has called the 'New Ultra- 
^montane' 1 party which was represented in England by 
Manning, in Ireland by Dr. Cullen, was little alive, 
during the dramatic struggle of that time, to such needs. 
And this party rapidly gained great influence. Its representa- 
tives were suspicious of such liberality of view as Newman's 
or Montalembert's, dreading lest it might prove the thin end 
of the "wedge which would admit unbelief into the Church. 
Again, the New Ultramontanes advocated a movement of 
centralisation which appeared to Newman to dispense with 

1 Vide infra, Vol. II. pp. 209-10. 


the customary practical checks on absolutism which the Church 
had provided. While taking the highest view of the Papal 
prerogatives, he seems, like Archbishop Sibour himself, to have 
questioned the expediency of constantly exerting to the full 
powers needful for an emergency. On both these matters 
the tide set in against him. In his last publication before 
receiving the Cardinal's hat we read the following sad and 
significant words: 'It is so ordered on high that in our day 
Holy Church should present just that aspect to my country- 
men which is most consonant with their ingrained prejudices 
against her, most unpromising for their conversion; and what 
can one writer do to counteract this misfortune? ',* 

With his keen sense of the action of Providence on his 
life of the 'kindly light 7 to which he looked to lead him on 
the great event of 1879, which suddenly and completely 
removed the long-standing feeling of impotence, appeared to 
him almost like a visible miracle. He was named a Prince 
of the Church. Nothing but this signal favour from Rome 
could have lifted the cloud; and one who was wholly in- 
different to external dignities saw the hand of Providence, 
and gave the thanks that were due. The time of wonders 
had returned. The long patience of many years was seen to 
have been the condition of accomplishing his true mission, and 
it was now to bear its fruit. A Cardinal could speak in the 
name of Rome. His writings had now the aureole they had 
hitherto lacked. They had the direct approval of the Vicar 
of Christ. His life had far exceeded the threescore and ten 
years allotted to man. He had written the last words oi Ms 
private journal, thanking God for His goodness, and resign- 
ing himself to his one cross the coldness of ecclesiastical 
authority. It was a cross hard to bear, both from his deep 
loyalty to Rome and from its greatly diminishing his power 
for good. When the cloud was suddenly removed, it was 
almost as though the heavens had opened and proclaimed 
the reward of long-suffering endurance. 

His sunny and happy old age gives a completeness to 
the drama which real life seldom affords. Even on this earth 
c the night was gone' for him. In the happy letters of these 
years he seems to repeat the lines of his own hymn, 
1 Via Mddia, vol. i. p. xxxvii. 


'And with the morn those angel faces smile, 
Which I have loved long since and lost awhile.' 

His life as a Catholic was thus marked by the alternation 
of light and gloom the 'blessed vision of peace ' which he 
saw in the Church of Athanasius inspiring endeavours that 
were again and again thwarted by members of the very 
Church he strove to serve. And the letters reveal something 
analogous in the temperament of the man. Here, too, the 
source of light is under another aspect a source of gloom. His 
own nature enhanced the effect of untoward circumstance. 
The delicate perceptions which charmed so many were 
i part of the artist's temperament, sensitive to praise and 
Dlarne, craving for sympathy. That is a temperament not 
aelpful in the struggle with the world which practical enter- 
prises entail Its combination with unswerving obedience to 
"he highest and hardest commands of conscience made him 
for his followers a prophet as well as an intensely sympathetic 
friend. But such a combination made his struggle with the 
world yet harder. Conscience bade him reject without 
hesitation that indulgence of mood and impulse which makes 
life tolerable to the artistic temperament. And he was ever 
ready to see in the less congenial path the way of duty. 

Then, again, his extraordinary power of psychological 
analysis, his insight into the workings of the human mind 
in individuals and in bodies of men, was a source of great 
influence in his correspondence with those who sought his 
advice, as it had been in his sermons at Oxford. But it was 
a source also of difficulty in a life of action, and this 
in two ways. Firstly, the habit of minute psychological 
introspection is apt to beget something of Hamlet's tempera- 
ment. And in Newman's case this was allied with a quality 
noted by his Oratorian friend and colleague Father Ryder 
in the valuable notes on the Cardinal which he left for my 
use, namely, 'Ms passivity making no attempt to fashion 
the course of Ms life, but waiting on Providence/ At critical 
moments, when friends expect him to strike and to protest, 
he says instead, Fiat voluntas tua.' The incident of the Irish 
bishopric, the suspension of the translation of the Scriptures, 
the resignation of the editorship of the Ramller, the aban- 
donment of the Oxford scheme, are all instances of this. 


But, secondly, Newman saw too much for a man of action. 
Difficulties were too vividly present to his mind in all Ms 
undertakings. This marked characteristic of his thought held 
good likewise of his actions. His belief in God, in another life, 
in the Church, was unwavering. Yet when Huxley said 
that he could compile a primer of infidelity from Newman's 
writings, those who knew them best saw at once the grounds 
for such a misreading. The sceptic's mind was vividly 
present to Newman's imagination. History witnessed in his 
eyes to 'the all-corroding, all-dissolving scepticism of the 
intellect in religious enquiries.' 1 He saw to the full the 
plausibility of the case which might be made out against 
the truths he most deeply believed. Of all points of faith 
he felt, as he has told us, that the being of God was most 
encompassed with difficulty. 2 He believed in the divinity of 
the Catholic Church. Yet he saw so clearly the human 
element in it that he sometimes alarmed even those who 
agreed with him by the closeness with which his mind could 
approach the line which separated the human from the 
Divine. His deepest convictions were compatible with a keen 
sense of all that told against them. Mr. Hutton notes a 
parallel quality in his literary style its presentation of 
currents opposed to its steady, onward, main drift. 

And his keen realisation of the difficulties attaching to 
all views on religion had its counterpart in his practical life. 
In any task which he believed that God called on him to 
undertake he had a similar keen vision of the difficulties 
in his path, as lie gradually pictured to himself with almost 
unerring insight the future course of events as they would 
affect him, the questions he would have to solve, the 
opposition he would encounter. Such insight has its 
helpful quality, but it may reach the point where it 
leads to hesitation or impairs the buoyancy and hopeful- 
ness which make for successful action. And I think that 
it did often reach that point, especially in Newman's later 
years. We find letters which to a simple and literal reader 
would appear contradictory. As early as the years succeed- 
ing Ms i Lectures on the Prophetical Oflfi.ce/ we find Mm 
full of the difficulties of a theory of which he had a few years 
1 Apologia,, p. 243. 2 Ibid. p. 239. 


before been sanguine. 1 There are letters of his from Rome 
in 1847 on the alternative schemes for his future whether he 
should be an Oratorian, a Dominican, a Redemptorist, or the 
like which are almost tiresomely fussy from their realisation 
of objections to any plan and their balancing of alternative 
considerations. One could quote letters on the Irish 
University scheme, each of which, taken alone, would seem 
to point in quite opposite directions the work seems in one 
letter just that which he would have chosen; in another quite 
hopeless. When he undertakes the editorship of the Rambler, 
and again when he resigns it, we have letters in which he 
groans over the irksomeness of the task and longs to be quit of 
it; and yet other letters which seem to say that it is the very 
work marked out for him by Providence. It is the same 
with the translation of the Scriptures. When the Oxford 
scheme of 1866 appears to be certain and fixed, he writes 
of the prospect to W. J. Copeland with the profoundest 
melancholy. Yet when it is put an end to by Propaganda 
the blow is a crushing one. In one so subtle, complex, 
intensely sensitive, these opposite feelings have all an intel- 
ligible place. A mind and imagination singularly alive to 
every aspect and every detail of each plan, a singularly sen- 
sitive temperament, naturally views a prospect with mixed 
feelings. One aspect makes him sad, another makes him 
happy. But to the world at large such combinations are 
often perplexing. Some readers will experience the sur- 
prise which came to Cardinal Barnabo when he was told 
in 1867 by the ambassadors, whom he understood to be 
pleading for Newman's mission to Oxford, that he had 

1 He writes thus to Henry Wilberforce in January 1846: 'In the year 1834 
or '35 my belief in this theory was so strong, that I recollect feeling an anxiety 
about the Abbe" Jager, with whom I was controverting, lest my arguments were 
unsettling him and making him miserable. Those arguments were not mine, but 
the evolution of Laud's theory, Stillingfleet's &c., which seemed to me clear, 
complete, and unanswerable. I do not think I had that unhesitating belief in it 
in 1836-7 when I published my Prophetical Office, or rather I should say that 
seal for it for I believed it fully or at least was not conscious I did not. It is 
difficult to say whether or not a flagging zeal involves an incipient doubt. The 
feelings under which I wrote the volume will be seen in the commencement of 
the last Lecture. T thought the theory true, but that all theories were doubtful 
and difficult, and all reasoning a weariness to the flesh. As time went on 
and 1 read the Fathers more attentively, I found the Via Media less and less 
satisfactory. 7 


never wanted to go to Oxford at all, 'Then we are all 
agreed/ said the Cardinal. This complexity, I think, often 
led to his being misunderstood, and damaged his effective- 
ness in action. 

Then, again, the deep sincerity, practicalness and uncoil- 
ventionality of his thought and his close perception of the 
workings of the minds which he strove to help made him a 
most persuasive guide. But these qualities also brought 
a drawback in his life as a Catholic. The rigid school- 
men, in England and in Rome, were very slow to com- 
prehend his drift, and ready to find fault with him. For 
it often happened that he did not reason along the lines 
with which they were familiar. His distinctions in argu- 
ment, as Father Ryder points out, 'instead of being clean 
cut and mutually exclusive, are for the most part based upon 
the predominance of this or that element, because the treat- 
ment aims at dealing with the living subject without reducing 
it to a caput mortwrn of abstraction.' This is, of course, the 
antithesis to the logical distinctions of the schoolmen. 

'The truth was/ writes Father Ryder, it was exceedingly 
difficult for men trained in the formal logic of the schools 
to understand one whose propositions lent themselves so 
awkwardly to the discipline of mood and figure. When 
Father Newman was still an Anglican, one who always 
remained his steadfast friend, Father Perrone [in reviewing 
at the same time Mr. Palmer's tl Treatise on the Church" 
and Newman's "Prophetical Office "], thus gave vent to 
his vexation at an antagonist who would not play the 
game " op time Palmer, Newman raiscet et confundit omnia." 
Then again what seemed to them antilogies troubled them. 
Father Newman was reserved and outspoken, Ultramontane 
and Liberal, uncompromising and minimistic. He was a 
formidable engine of war on their side, but they were 
distinctly aware that they did not thoroughly understand 
the machinery, and so they came to think, some of them, 
that it might perhaps one day go off of itself or in the 
wrong direction. 7 

The quality of complexity and subtlety of mind in one 
whose purpose was ever so simple in its concentration on 
following God's will kept him aloof from all parties- This 


is a very noteworthy feature to which his correspondence 
bears testimony. Yet party combinations are generally 
deemed necessary for effective action. Even as a Tractarian 
he had opposed over-elaborate organisation, and advocated 
informal individual effort. It is a question whether he 
could have been even then strictly a party man had it not 
come to pass that he found himself the leader of a party 
had not the party become Newmanite rather than he a 
Puseyite. As a Catholic, his isolation from parties was 
almost complete. Deeply as he sympathised on many points 
with Montalembert and Lacordaire, 1 he was in no sense a 
Liberal Catholic. Much as he agreed with Dupanloup's 
action at the time of the Vatican Council, he had none of 
Dupanloup's Gallican tendency. Strongly as he felt with 
Acton and Simpson in their dissatisfaction with certain 
features in current Catholic Apologetic, 2 he emphatically 
dissociated himself from the Rambler and the Home and 
Foreign Review. On the other hand, convinced Ultramontane 
as he was, he was out of harmony with the most typical 
Ultramontanes of the time with those who could be called 
party men. Manning and Louis Veuillot were both intellec- 
tually uncongenial to him. So, too, was Father Faber. He 
wrote to W. G. Ward again and again that he agreed with 
him in principles. 'But when it came to practice he seemed 
to Ward to be taking the side of Simpson and Acton, 
and to be directly hostile to himself. With Dollinger's 
recognition of the facts of history he was in full sympathy, 
yet he wholly dissented from his application of those facts 
to the duty of a Catholic in iSyo. 3 It will be said at 
least he was an 'inopportunist' in 1870 but no. Though 
he did all he could to avert the definition, though he 
regretted the definition, he did not pronounce it inoppor- 
tune. Of its opportuneness God was the judge. 4 Even 
if it was a misfortune, misfortune may be the providential 
means of bringing about good results. 

Very few men combine, as he did, profound enthusiasm 
with the keenly critical temperament. How many men could 
have written as he did with inspired rhetoric of the practical 

1 Vide infra, p. 472. 2 Vide infra, p. 553. 

8 Difficulties of Anglicans, ii. 311. 4 Ibid. p. 193. 


wisdom of the Papacy displayed in history, and yet have 
been so strongly opposed to what he believed to be the 
wishes of Pius IX. In 1870? The rough-and-ready critic 
notes the contrasts with exasperation. But the careful reader 
will see that in each case the appeal is to the facts of history. 
History taught him that in matters of policy Popes were 
generally right, occasionally wrong. 

This excessive isolation in his views, like the keen sense 
of the difficulties in his path, did not tell for the success 
of his endeavours; for men who thought he agreed with 
them would find him at critical moments unexpectedly in 
an attitude of opposition to them. The late Lord Acton 
was greatly angered by such incidents. In a lesser degree 
it was the same with others. The charge against him in a 
famous correspondence, which we have all read, 1 is that he 
is 'difficult to understand.' Others besides Manning said 
this. 'J. H. N. is a queer man. Who can understand 
him?' wrote T. W. Allies for many years a friend and 
close follower at the time of the Ozford scheme of 1864. 
Allies' correspondent sent the letter on to Newman himself, 
and the present writer found it among Ms papers. 

Finally, we see in his letters the intensely affectionate 
and sensitive nature which won him such devoted friendships 
and brought at the same time so much suffering. We find 
him telling Mr. Hutton that nothing could be said about 
him in praise or in blame which did not 'tear off his 
morbidly sensitive skin.' And there was something in the 
depth of his affections distinct from the temperament of the 
artist of which I have already spoken. My picture would 
not be true or living if I omitted from the correspondence 
as published the indications of this feature and its conse- 
quences. I am aware that the unsympathetic reader may 
find matter for criticism in some manifestations of Newman's 
sensitiveness, and in a certain self-centredness which so often 
goes with genius, and which had in Newman's case been 
fostered by his almost unique leadership at Oxford. But I 
do not think that anyone who appreciates the overmastering 
love of holiness, the absolute devotion to duty, as well as 
the intellectual force and wisdom evident in the letters as 

1 See PurcelPs Life of Manning, 11-327. 


a whole, will feel any disposition so to belittle the great 
Cardinal when he reaches the end of this book. In reading 
Newman's correspondence, as when we watch a man in great 
pain, we hear, perhaps, at moments cries which are not 
musical, we witness movements not wholly dignified. But 
the feeling when all is read can hardly fail to be (the pres- 
ent writer speaks at least for himself) one of deep love and 
reverence. If the biographer has not conveyed his sense of 
proportion in this respect the fault is wholly his own. But, 
on the other hand, he did not feel that he would be justified 
in suppressing the signs of those defects which make the 
individuality stand out, and publishing a merely conventional 
biography, painting a c court portrait. 7 There are men of 
genius in respect of whom the world has a right to know the 
facts as they are, and whose great gifts and qualities enable 
them to bear an entirely truthful representation. Such was 
Johnson. Such was Carlyle. One cannot bear the thought 
of these great men being shorn of their real individuality. 
John Henry Newman is such another. And his very holi- 
ness and devotion to duty are brought into relief by the 
trials which his own nature enhanced. His brightness of 
temperament made him keenly alive to the joys of life. 
It made him at times the most charming of companions. 
There probably would be few symptoms of undue sensitive- 
ness or of angry and resentful feeling to record had he led a 
life according to human inclination. But at the call of duty 
he attempted tasks which were intensely trying. He had 
strength to put his hand into the fire and keep it there. He 
had not strength never to cry out with pain, or always to 
preserve an attitude of studied grace. 

Albany Christie walked with him from Oxford to Little- 
more when the great separation of 1845 was approaching. 
Newman never spoke a word all the way, and Christie's 
hand when they arrived was wet with Newman's tears. 
When he made his confession in Littlemore chapel his 
exhaustion was such that he could not walk without help. 
When he went to Rome to set right the differences with his 
brethren of London which tried him so deeply, he walked 
barefoot from the halting stage of the diligence all the 
way to St. Peter's Basilica, When Ambrose Stt John 4ie4 



Newman threw himself on the bed by the corpse and spent 
the night there. A nature marked by the depth of feeling 
of which such symptoms are the index has a load to bear 
which is not given to others. Deep natures are not the most 
equable. The selfish and shallow man may be at times a 
pleasanter companion. The men who feel as deeply as John 
Henry Newman felt win from friends and disciples an enthu- 
siastic personal love which others cannot win. 'Cor ad cor 
loquitur.' They give and they receive a love for which others 
look in vain. But deep feeling is not all of one kind. There 
will be bitter as well as sweet. Where there is intense 
love and gratitude, there will be at times deep anger, deep 

The complex genius, then, which fascinated and domin- 
ated his followers had in it some qualities less helpful in the 
life of action than the rough fibre of simpler natures. This 
adds to the interest of the drama, and its pathos; but the 
reader will not find in it the determining cause of successive 
failures. This is to be sought rather in the action of his 
countrymen who opposed him, and in the circumstances of 
the time which gave them their opportunity. 

There is one further feature in the correspondence which 
calls for special notice. Newman's lifelong preoccupation 
with the prospect of an unprecedented movement towards 
unbelief in religion led him from an early date to give close 
attention to the question, How can the reasonableness of 
religious belief be brought home to all the men of good- 
will? The Oxford University Sermons (on 'The Theory of 
Religious Belief ; )> which began as early as 1826, have this 
for their main object. The 'Grammar of Assent ' pursued it 
further. His own friendship with Blanco White, with Mark 
Pattison, with William Froude, the brother of Hurrcll, brought 
closely home to him the fact that there were honest inquirers 
to whom the mode in which Christianity was presented 
to them had made its acceptance impossible. In early 
years he felt the deficiency to lie largely in the fact that 
the apologetic current in the Anglican Church did not take 
adequate account of the actual state of inquiring minds or of 
their special difficulties. And he regarded the result not only 


as a matter deeply serious in its bearing on the happiness and 
welfare of men who were dear to him, but as of overwhelming 
concern for the faith of the rising generation. He gradually 
came to see in the Catholic Church the one hope for with- 
standing a movement towards unbelief which threatened to be 
little less than a devastating flood. There are traces of this 
thought even before he joined her communion. The special 
power of Catholicism in this direction, as he came gradually to 
believe, was twofold. First, the Church was, as he expressed it, 
'the concrete representative of things invisible.' She upheld 
dogmatic truth with all the authority of immemorial tradition. 
Her insistence on the whole of revelation, and jealous refusal 
to mutilate it, was a part of this aspect of her strength. And 
she was, moreover, a living power specially adapted to resist 
the excesses of Rationalism the errors to which the human 
reason is liable if left to itself. But there was also another side 
which appealed to him in her history the side set forth in 
several of his Essays, and notably in the Dublin Lecture on 
'Christianity and Scientific Investigation. 7 This was the 
freedom of debate with which the mediaeval schools met the 
intellectual problems of their day. 'Truth is wrought out,' he 
wrote, ' by many minds working freely together. As far as I 
can make out this has ever been the rule of the Church till 
now.' 1 Two causes are referred to in his letters which made 
him feel that the Catholic schools did not adequately fulfil in 
the middle of the nineteenth century the functions which 
were so necessary in this connection. In the first place, the 
old theological schools had been destroyed at the French 
Revolution. In the second place, the militant movement 
of centralisation which De Maistre and Lamennais had in- 
augurated in the nineteenth century, and which had been 
developed in an acute form by later writers like M. Louis 
Veuillot, while it contained very noble elements and while it 
proved a most powerful instrument of united action among 
Catholics, was incidentally unfavourable to intellectual in- 
terests. It discouraged the provisional toleration of freedom 
of opinion and of free debate among experts. And the 
warfare between the Holy See and Continental liberalism 
strengthened both obstacles. The schools were not likely to 
1 Vide infra, Vol. II. p. 49. 


be re-established at such a time, and a state of war calls for 
discipline rather than the encouragement of personal liberty. 

The urgency of the danger arising from a very inadequate 
apologetic in the recognised text-books was, he saw, not fully 
appreciated by Cardinal Barnabo, the Prefect of Propaganda. 
The Cardinal had, perhaps, comparatively little experience of 
the class of minds which were specially affected by it. And the 
claim for liberty meant too often disaffection and impatience 
of all authority. It was therefore suspect in the eyes of 
practical rulers. It was not readily understood by them as 
having the object and spirit it has in Newman's own letters- 
as being a plea for the really essential condition of making 
Catholic apologetic adequate to meeting an infidel movement. 
But in Germany and in Belgium, as in England, where the 
need was most urgent, its importance was felt in many quarters 
as it was by Newman himself. The infidel movement was not 
merely a moral revolt against Christianity. It had a very 
prominent intellectual side. There were problems raised by 
modern philosophers and critics which needed to be met 
frankly and by free discussion in their bearing on theology. 
Only thus could a really satisfactory understanding between 
the theologians and the men of science be achieved. And 
in its absence the weight of the scientific movement would 
go to the side of unbelief. Newman seems to have regarded 
it as his special work to urge the necessity of such a develop- 
ment of thought and learning as should meet this need of 
the hour. And this led him to express very strong criticisms 
on those who strove, as he expressed it, to * narrow the 
terms of communion/ and unduly to curtail the liberty of 
thought open to Catholics. Yet these men were among 
the most zealous champions of the Holy See. Newman 
always excepted the Holy See itself from the sphere of 
his criticism, but not all its advisers, some of whom be- 
longed to the party represented in England by Manning 
and Ward. The extent of that party's influence and the 
blindness of some of its members to the dangers, which were, 
to his eyes, so appalling, aroused in him very deep feeling. 
These men initiated the opposition to his moderate view on 
the Temporal Power and to his scheme for an Oratory 
at Oxford, while they clamoured for a definition of Papal 


Infallibility far less carefully limited than that which the 
Council eventually passed in 1870. 

I have not felt at liberty to treat this portion of his 
correspondence perfunctorily for three reasons. Firstly, it 
represents a feeling which was clearly among the deepest he 
had during some thirty years of his life, and an account of 
him which touched only lightly on it would be inadequate 
to the point of untruthfulness. Secondly, his views are 
so widely known, and have been expressed to so many in 
writing, that it is quite certain that any such omission on 
my part, even were it lawful, would result in some letters 
which I might omit in these pages being forthwith printed 
elsewhere. And the public would probably think (though 
quite falsely) that the correspondence contained criticisms 
of a more serious character which the biographer had also 
omitted. But thirdly, and this is most important, such criti- 
cisms when read in their context, and in the light thrown 
on them by other contemporaneous letters which exhibit 
his enthusiastic loyalty to the Holy See, and his profound 
satisfaction with the Catholic religion, take their true pro- 
portion and colour. They are the expressions of a very 
acute and critical mind in regard of one special need in 
the Catholic schools, which he felt, from his own close study 
of the trend of contemporary thought and of the lessons of 
history, to be far more serious than was generally recognised. 
Those who had kept their religious belief by putting aside 
intellectual difficulties as temptations could not fully appre- 
ciate the needs of the increasing mass of thoughtful minds 
in daily contact with a world to which these difficulties were 
vivid realities. The former class was, as he put it, militia 
parmili. But the educated men of the day had to be 
sensibus perfecti, and required a deeper and more com- 
prehensive philosophy. To argue as though suppression 
of dangerous views could meet such cases was to propose 
shutting the stable-door after the horse had escaped. Such 
suppression might be demanded on occasion. It was espe- 
cially necessary in the interests of simple and uneducated 
minds which could be kept from the knowledge of difficulties 
which would scare them, but it could not adequately meet 
the case of the earnest inquirers to whom the problems of 


religious thought were already familiar. And he used strong 
words as to the short-sightedness of those who acted on the 
view that nothing more was needed. But his words had no 
such one-sided significance as they might have had in minds 
less complex and of less wide reach. His sense of short- 
comings and imperfections which were permitted by God 
within the Church, no more impaired his loyalty or conviction 
of her divinity, than his keen sense of the difficulties, sug- 
gested by the evil in the world, against belief in the Provi- 
dence of God, diminished his certainty of that great truth. 
Sentences from his letters may, no doubt, be wrested from 
their context by partisan critics, and thus given a false signi- 
ficance. But, as read in these pages side by side with the rest 
of his correspondence, they will be seen to be the expres- 
sion of feelings prompted solely by devotion to the interests 
of the Church and of religion. Though individual letters 
represent his sentiments at a given moment, which did not 
always coincide with his mature judgment, their spirit is in 
this respect unvarying. Only a comparatively small selection 
from a vast correspondence can of course here be published. 
But the views he expressed on the critical questions of 
the day are given with perfect frankness. My endeavour 
throughout is so carefully to preserve the true proportion 
between the various elements of his character and opinions 
that further letters, while they may add much knowledge 
of detail, will find their natural place in the picture presented 
by the present work as a whole. 



'JOHN HENRY NEWMAN was born in Old Broad Street in 
the City of London on February 21, 1801, and was baptized 
in the Church of St. Benet Fink on April 9 of the same year. 
His father was a London banker whose family came from 
Cambridgeshire. 1 His mother was of a French Protestant 
family who left France for this country on the revocation 
of the Edict of Nantes. l He was the eldest of six children 
three boys and three girls!' Such is the account of his birth 
and parentage which Cardinal Newman has left in his auto- 
biographical memoir; and beyond the facts that his paternal 
grandfather's name was like his father's John, and that his 
mother's family, the Fourdriniers, stayed for one generation 
in Holland before reaching England, the present biographer 
has, after careful inquiry, found no evidence for any further 
details of his ancestry. 2 

A curious and interesting picture of the various members 
of the family is given by Mrs. Thomas Mozley the Cardinal's 

1 Mr. Thomas Mozley states that the family were once small landed pro- 
prietors in Cambridgeshire (Reminiscences, i, n). The Cardinal himself, 
in conversation with the late Father Neville, named Swaffham, in Norfolk, 
as the locality to which the family had belonged. The Lancaster Herald, 
Mr. Bellasis, who looked into the Cardinal's ancestry when the Cardinal's 
Hat was conferred in 1879, informs me that there is no official pedigree extant. 
The arms used by the family were granted in 1663 to Mr, John Newman of 
London, from whom, however, the Cardinal's descent has not been traced. 

2 The writer was at pains to ascertain the evidence for the alleged Jewish de- 
scent of the Newman family, and it proved to be a curious instance of how stories 
grow out of nothing. It is stated definitely in Dr. Barry's Cardinal Newman 
*that its real descent was Hebrew/ Dr. Barry, in answer to my inquiries, re- 
ferred me to the article on J. H. Newman in the Encyclopaedia Britannica as his 
authority. And undoubtedly that article first broached the suggestion. I 
happened to know personally the writer in the Encyclopedia Britannica and com- 
municated with him. In reply he pointed out that he had in his article never 
alleged Jewish descent as a fact, but only suggested its possibility. 'There is no 


sister in a little book called ' Family Adventures. ' l The 
eldest boy is described (at the age of eleven) as ' a very philo- 
sophical young gentleman/ 'very observant and considerate/ 
He is fastidious and bored by general society. He is 
devoted to his mother, to whom he writes constantly when 
away from home and whom he delights in surprising 
with some gift which she will care for. He loves ^to read 
to the servants from serious books and to explain ^ their 
meaning. He is tender and sympathetic to his sisters. 
1 You always understand about everything/ says one of them, 
'and always make me happy when I am uncomfortable. 7 
There is but one weak spot the heel of Achilles an 
undue personal sensitiveness to blame or to not being liked. 
He is ever moderate in view, measured in judgment and scru- 
pulous as to facts. He rebukes impossible childish fancies. 
Thus, to a brother who is disappointed at the size of a 
famous oak he says in reproach, 'You expect something quite 
impossible, and then are surprised to find only a very great 
wonder. 7 One of the family pictures the great Duke of 
Wellington as a gigantic warrior; the eldest brother reminds 
them all that the Duke is well known to be short of stature. 
On the other hand, while 'unreal words' were as little to his 
taste in the schoolroom as in the Oxford pulpit in later years, 
he believes firmly a marvellous occurrence, if there is evidence 
for it, however antecedently improbable it may appear. He 
holds firmly to his story that he saw a tall man brandishing 
a drawn sword in pursuit of his sister, who had lost her way 
in the woods. The story proved to be literally true. The 
tall man was carving at a picnic with an old Indian sword 
which had been turned into a carving-knife, and, anxious to 

evidence for it.' he added, * except the nose and the name.' For those, then, who 
agree with the present writer that the nose was Roman rather than Jewish, the 
evidence remains simply that the name ' Newman' betokens Hebrew origin a 
bold experiment in the higher criticism. I may add that in a more recent corre- 
spondence Dr. Barry agrees with me that no satisfactory evidence on the subject 
has been adduced. The Fourdriniers were a family of some interest, 

1 Family Adventures. By the author of the Fairy Bower. London: John 
and Charles Murphy, Paternoster Row, and Joseph Masters, New Broad Street; 
1852. The Cardinal's two sisters Jemima and Harriet married respectively 
Mr, John Mozley and Mr. Thomas Mozley. 


catch the girl who had lost her way, had run after her, waving 
his arms to attract her attention. 

In these stories there are real characteristics of the future 
man, although no moral is intended or pointed by the 

The materials for John Henry Newman's early life are to 
be found mainly in the two volumes edited by Miss Anne 
Mozley, containing selections from his letters and diaries, 
and his own curious Autobiographical Memoir written in the 
third person, as well as the editor's notes. 1 From these 
documents, as well as from the i Apologia/ I here select the 
main outstanding facts. Much of his earliest childhood was 
passed at Grey's Court, Ham, near Richmond. So deep an 
impression was made on him by this home (which the family 
left in September 1807), that he writes of it nearly eighty 
years after quitting it, 'I dreamed about it when a school- 
boy as if it were paradise. It would be here where the 
angel faces appeared "loved long since but lost awhile.'" 2 
On May i, 1808, he was sent to a private school at Baling, 
kept by Dr. Nicholas of Wadham College, Oxford. His 
own entreaties aided those of his mother and school- 
master in preventing his going to Winchester, and he 
remained at Baling until he went up to Trinity College, 
Oxford. Thus he never was at a public school. During the 
eight and a half years which he spent at Baling he scarcely 
ever took part in any game. His character, however, made 
itself felt, and he was often chosen by the boys as arbitrator 
in their disputes. He acquired at Baling his taste for 
Terence's plays which the boys used to act. Among the parts 
he himself played were Davus in the 'Andria' and Pythias in 
the 'Eunuchus.' He wrote both prose and verse with great 
promise at eleven. His home religious training made him, 
even at that early period, familiar with the Bible. And 
in his day-dreams on religion as a boy there was apparent 
a vivid sense of the wonderful. In early notes quoted in the 
' Apologia' he tells us that his imagination as a child ran 
on 'unknown influences; on magical powers and talismans'; 

1 I have also added some particulars from other portions of his works and 
from the reminiscences of his intimate friend Father Neville. 
3 This extract is from a letter of 1886. 


that he 'used to wish the "Arabian Nights" were true;' that 
he 'was very superstitious and used constantly to cross him- 
self on going into the dark/ But he was not in childhood 
deeply religious. In an early MS. book he records that he used 
at fourteen to wish to be virtuous, but not religious. 'T^ere 
was something in the latter idea I did not like. Nor did 1 see 
the meaning of loving God. 1 A certain sense of God's presence 
he always had, but it was just before going to Oxford that he 
came to know the Rev. Walter Mayer, one of the classical 
masters, from whom (to quote his own words) he received 
'deep religious impressions, at the time Calvinistic in charac- 
ter, which were to him the beginning of a new life.' 2 A com- 
plete and remarkable change in him supervened, deepening 
greatly the religious side of Ms nature. It was not accom- 
panied (he states) by violent feeling, but was 'a return to, a 
renewing of, principles, under the power of the Holy Spirit 
which I had already felt and in a measure acted on when 
young. 3 3 The conversion had in it, he tells us in his 
Autobiographical Memoir, none of the 'special Evangelical 
experiences.' He did not go through the prescribed ' stages 
of conviction of sin, terror, despair, news of free and full 
salvation, joy and peace,' 4 &c. The normal Evangelicals 
doubted whether he had been converted at all, 5 and when in 
1821 he tried to write a description of the typical Evangelical 
conversion, he added in a note: C I speak of conversion with 
great diffidence, being obliged to adopt the language of 
books. My own feelings, as far as I can remember, were so 
different from any account I have ever read that I dare not 
go by what may be an individual case/ The * Apologia ' gives 
interesting details as to the beliefs and feelings conversion 
brought in his own case; 'I believed/ he writes, 'that the 
inward conversion of which I was conscious (and of which 
I am still more certain than that I have hands and feet), 
would last into the next life, and that I was elected to 
eternal glory/ This belief helped, he explains, 'in confirm- 
ing me in my mistrust of the reality of material phenomena, 
and making me rest in the thought of two, and two only, 

1 Newman's Letters and Correspondence, i. 22. z Ibid. i. 27. 

3 Ibid. 1 124. 4 Ibid. p. 123. B Ibid. p. 122. 


absolute and luminously self-evident beings myself and my 
Creator.' l 

This last thought had been already expressed in a note 
of 1817 (the year of the conversion itself). Using in his last 
thre^ "Sentences the phraseology which he afterwards adopted 
in the *< Grammar of Assent/ he speaks of 'the reality of con- 
version as cutting at the root of doubt, providing a chain 
between God and the soul that is with every link complete. 
I know I am right. How do you know it? I know that I 
know/ 2 

This feeling lasted in some sense through life. He has 
expressed it in the ' Apologia,' in a well-known passage: 

'If I am asked why I believe in a God, I answer that it is 
because I believe in myself, for I feel it impossible to believe 
in my own existence (and of that fact I am quite sure) 
without believing also in the existence of Him, who lives as 
a Personal, All-seeing, All-judging Being in my conscience.' 8 

On the other hand, while he thought of God as ' lumi- 
nously self-evident,' and while his sense of God's presence 
was through life, he tells us, never 'dimmed by even a passing 
shadow,' 4 he was conscious of a strong intellectual tendency 
to general scepticism, and this enabled him to enter into 
agnostic views of life in others, with a close understanding 
which was very rare and very helpful. 'X thank God,' he 
wrote to Dr. Pusey in 1845, 'that He has shielded me morally 
from what intellectually might easily come on me general 
scepticism.' & 

His new Calvinistic rigorism imparted a solitariness of 
spirit and a certain austerity to his nature which it never lost. 
Yet he had also a keen sensitiveness to brighter aspects of 
life which appeared inconsistent with the typical Calvinist's 

1 Apologia, p. 4. 

2 Letters and Correspondence, p. 25; Grammar of Assent, p. 197. 

8 Apologia, p. 198. In speaking of Newman's keen sense of God's presence 
in his conscience as an interesting psychological fact I am of course not examining 
the entirely distinct question as to the place which he assigned to the phenomena 
of conscience as an argument for Theism. Of this I shall speak later on. The 
feeling referred to in the text is akin to that found in such great mystics as 
St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa. 

4 Letters and Correspondence, p. 14. 

8 Life of Pwey, ii. 450. 


somewhat morose aloofness. In a very remarkable letter to 
his mother he owns to the depth of his sentiments as to sin 
and predestination, and defends them as follows: 

'If they made me melancholy, morose, austere, distant, 
reserved, sullen, then indeed they might with justice be the 
subject of anxiety, but if, as I think is the case, I am always 
cheerful, if at home I am always ready and eager to join in 
any merriment, if I am not clouded with sadness, if my medi- 
tations make me neither absent in mind nor deficient in action, 
then my principles may be gazed at and puzzle the gazer, 
but they cannot be accused of bad practical effects. Take me 
when I am most foolish at home and extend mirth into child- 
ishness; stop me short and ask me then what I think of 
myself, whether my opinions are less gloomy; no, I think I 
should seriously return the same answer that I " shudder at 
myself. 3 " 1 

A combination of lightness and brightness in his tempera- 
ment, with a deep sense of human sinfulness, is noteworthy 
throughout his life. 

When his father was about to make the necessary 
arrangements for Ms transfer to the University he was in 
doubt whether to choose Oxford or Cambridge a doubt 
which was only resolved by an Oxford friend in favour of 
his own university when the post-chaise was actually at the 
door of the house. John Henry Newman was entered as a 
commoner of Trinity College on December 14, 1816, and 
came into residence in the following June. He arrived at 
the University feeling (to use his own words) an 'awe and 
transport/ as though he approached 'some sacred shrine.' 2 
His imagination surrounded with a glow all the details and 
incidents of his early residence, and even the College dinner 
came in for a share of idealisation: 

' At dinner I was much entertained by the novelty of the 
thing, 7 he writes to his father. 'Fish, flesh and fowl, beautiful 
salmon, haunches of mutton, lamb, etc., fine strong beer, served 
up on old pewter plates and misshapen earthenware jugs. 
Tell Mama there were gooseberry, raspberry and apricot pies 
. , . there was such a profusion that scarcely two ate of the 
same. Neither do they sit according to their rank, but as 
they happen to come in.' 3 

1 Letters, i. 59. 2 Ibid. i. 48. 3 Ibid. i. 29 


The wine-parties, however, soon brought out the Puritan 
in him. He had, says an intimate friend, 'no grain of 

; H. the other day asked me to take a glass of wine with 
two or three others/ he writes, 'and they drank and drank all 
the time I was there. I was very glad that prayers came half 
an hour after. I came to them, for I am sure I was not 
entertained with either the drinking or the conversation/ l 

In 1818 Newman was elected scholar of Trinity. Self- 
consciousness, shyness and a touch of awe at the scene are 
visible in writing of it to his mother: 

'They made me first do some verses; then Latin trans- 
lation; then Latin theme; then chorus of Euripides; then an 
English theme; then some Plato; then someXenophon; then 
some Livy. What more distressing than suspense? At last 
I was called to the place where they had been voting, the Vice 
Chancellor said some Latin over me, then made a speech. 
The electors then shook hands with me, and I immediately 
assumed the scholar's gown. Just as I was going out before 
I had changed my gown, one of the candidates met me and 
wanted to know if it was decided. What was I to say? "It 
was." "And who has got it?" "Oh, an in-college man," I 
said and hurried away as fast as I could. On returning with 
my newly-earned gown I met the whole set going to their 
respective homes. I did not know what to do. I held my 
eyes down.' 2 

At Trinity began his intimate friendship with John 
William Bowden. 

'The two youths/ he writes in the Autobiographical 
Memoir, 'lived simply with and for each other all through 
their undergraduate time, up to the term when they went 
into the schools for their B.A. examination, being recognised 
in college as inseparables taking their meals together, read- 
ing, walking, boating together nay, visiting each other's 
homes in the vacations; and, though so close a companion- 
ship could not continue when at length they ceased to be 
in a state of pupilage, and had taken their several paths in 
life, yet the mutual attachment thus formed at the University 
was maintained between them unimpaired till Mr. Bowden's 
premature death in 1844.' 3 

1 Letters, i. 30. 2 Ibid. i. 35. * Ibid. I 2%. 

VOL. 1. 


It Is interesting to note that Gibbon and Locke were the 
writers whose works absorbed him in the Long Vacation of 
igiS. 1 He has told us that he dreamed for some nights of 
what he read in Gibbon at this early time. ' My ears rang with 
the cadence of his sentences/ he adds. Forthwith he com- 
menced an analysis of Thucydides in Gibbon's style. 2 Later on 
he read Gibbon assiduously in connection with his own studies 
in Church history. 'Perhaps/ he writes in the Introduction to 
the 'Essay on Development/ 'the only English writer who 
has any claim to be considered an ecclesiastical historian is 
the unbeliever Gibbon. 3 Locke, so far as we know, was the 
first writer on philosophy whose works he studied. 

The law was at this time his destined profession, 3 and he 
speaks of himself as 'too solicitous about fame. 7 He notes 
'the high expectations which are formed of me, the con- 
fidence with which those who know nothing of me put down 
two first classes to my name.' Such ideas 'dismay' him, 
'I fear much more from failure/ he adds, 'than I hope from 

success/ 4 

Newman's failure in the Schools, in 1820, from exhaustion 
brought on by overwork, produced a disappointment which 
no subsequent success effaced from his mind. 5 But he writes 
bravely to his father on December i: 'I have done every- 
thing I could to attain my object; I have spared no labour 
and my reputation in my college is as solid as before if not 
as splendid.' His failure in the Schools led his father to think 
a barrister's profession, with its uncertainties, undesirable; 
and Newman's own pronounced religious tastes decided his 
career in favour of Holy Orders. 

If he disappointed his friends by his failure he atoned 
to them for it by gaining the Oriel Fellowship a year later. 
This prize he eagerly coveted, and reproached himself for 
his ambition. 'Last 5th of January/ he writes in a 
memorandum, 'I wrote to my aunt: "I deprecate the 
day in which God gives me repute or any approach to 
wealth." Alas how I am changed. I am perpetually praying 
to get into Oriel and obtain the prize for my essay/ 6 

1 Letters , i. 39. 2 See Idea of a University, p. 322, 

* He was entered as a student at Lincoln's Inn in June 1819. 
4 Letters, I 45. 5 Ibid. i. 49, $ Ibid. I 68, 


His ambition, if keen, was remarkable in its limitations, 
and he cared for nothing higher than the Oriel Fellowship. 1 
He received the news of his election on April 12, 1822, while 
playing the violin; and, with the undemonstrative instinct 
underlying intense feeling which characterised him through 
life, only replied to the messenger who summoned him to 
the College 'Very well/ and went on fiddling. But no 
sooner had the man left him than he flung down his instru- 
ment and dashed downstairs with all speed to Oriel College. 
And he recollected, after fifty years, the eloquent faces 
and eager bows of the tradesmen and others . . . who had 
heard the news and well understood why he was cross- 
ing from St. Mary's to the house opposite at so extra- 
ordinary a pace. 72 Then came the congratulations of the 
Fellows; and when c Keble advanced to take my hand . . . 
I couH nearly have shrunk into the floor ashamed at so 
great an honour.' The youth of twenty-one, in whom 
reverence was ever a characteristic quality, was overcome 
by the honour of belonging to the great company of Oriel. 
'I am absolutely a Member of the Common Room/ he 
writes to Ms father, 'am called by them " Newman 33 and am 
abashed to find that I must soon learn to call them Keble, 
Hawkins, Tyler.' What some of his friends looked for in 
his future career is apparent in such a letter as the 

' Behold you now a Fellow of Oriel, the great object of 
the ambition of half the Bachelors of Oxford. Behold you 
(to take a peep into futurity) in Holy Orders, taking pupils 
in college, and having a curacy within a short distance; 

then Public Tutor, Vicar of , Provost 7 Regius Professor 

of Divinity, Bishop of , Archbishop of Canterbury; or 

shall we say thus Student-at-law 7 Barrister, Lord Chancellor, 
or at least Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench? Which 
of these ladders is it your intention to climb? You now 
have it in your power to decide.' 3 

1 'He never wished for anything better or higher than, in the words of the 
epitaph, "to live and die a Fellow of Oriel"' (i. 73, Autobiographical Memoir). 

2 i. p. 7 2 , A utolno graphical Memoir. In a letter to his mother he adds ' Men 
hurried from all directions to Trinity. . . . The bells were set ringing from three 
towers (I had to pay for them).' 

3 Letters, 1. 74, 

C 2 


The Oriel Fellowship was the turning-point in Newman's 
early life. Not only did it give him an assured position, but, 
to use his own words, c it opened upon him a theological career, 
placing him upon the high and broad platform of Univer- 
sity society and intelligence, and bringing him across those 
various influences personal and intellectual . . . whereby the 
religious sentiment in his mind which had been his bless- 
ing from the time he left school, was gradually developed 
and formed and brought on to its legitimate issues.' * 

His career at Oriel may be divided into three periods: 
(i) the period of the development of his mind under the 
influence of such liberal thinkers as Whately and the rest 
of the brilliant circle of Oriel Fellows afterwards known as 
the Noetics; (2) the early years of that close intimacy with 
Hurrell Froude from 1828 to 1832 which came with 
the termination of the liberal tendency of his thought; 
years which witnessed his appointment to the vicarage of 
St. Mary's and his reforming campaign as tutor at Oriel; 
and (3) his share in the Tract movement of 1833-1845. 

The first period was very momentous, and brought 
about his emancipation from the narrowness of his earlier 
Calvinism and Evangelicalism, and at the same time a great 
change in his social and intellectual character, in the power 
of self-expression and of making himself felt. He has left a 
curious picture in his Autobiographical Memoir of the anxiety 
of some of the Oriel men after his election as to whether one 
apparently so reserved, and even awkward, had really the 
gifts which had been attributed to him : 

'In the first place, they had to deal with his extreme shyness. 
It disconcerted them to find that, with their best efforts, they 
could not draw him out or get him to converse. He shrank 
into himself when his duty was to meet their advances. Easy 
and fluent as he was among his equals and near relatives, his 
very admiration of his new associates made a sudden intimacy 
with them impossible to him. An observant friend, who 
even at a later date saw him accidentally among strangers, 
not knowing the true account of his bearing, told him he 
considered he had had a near escape of being a stutterer. This 
untowardness in him was increased by a vivid self-conscious- 
1 Autobiographical Memoir quoted in Letters^ I p. 73, 


ness, which sometimes inflicted on him days of acute suffering 
from the recollection of solecisms, whether actual or imagined, 
which he recognised in his conduct in society. And then 
there was, in addition, that real isolation of thought and 
spiritual solitariness which was the result of his Calvinistic 

The principal influence which developed the 'raw bashful 
youth' of 1821 into the brilliant John Henry Newman of 1825 
was that of Whately, most stimulating of talkers, ever insist- 
ing on reality and activity of mind, professing sympathy 
with heretics for they at least thought for themselves 
and waging unsparing war on the conventional unreasoning 
formalism of the High and Dry school. Whately was 
brilliant and suggestive in intercourse, though at moments 
'sharp, rude and positive' in short, 'a bright June sun 
tempered by a March north-easter.' 'Much as I owe to 
Oriel/ Newman wrote to Whately in 1825, 'in the way of 
mental improvement, to none, as I think, do I owe so much 
as to you. I know who it was that first gave me heart to 
look about even after my election, and taught me to think 
correctly, and (strange office for an instructor) to rely on my- 
self.' 1 In 1825-6 he served under Whately as Vice-Principal 
of Alban Hall. 

The influence of Whately was accompanied, as I have 
said, by that of other pioneers of liberal theology members 
of the Oriel school. 'They were neither High Church nor 
Low Church,' he writes, 'but had become a new school . . . 
which was characterised by its spirit of moderation and 
comprehension, and of which the principal ornaments 
were Copleston, Davison, Whately, Hawkins and Arnold.' 2 
They 'called everything into question; they appealed to first 
principles, and disallowed authority as a judge in matters 
intellectual.' From 1824 to 1826 Newman's views became 
substantially modified by his intercourse with these men. 
Some of the mannerisms of a narrow sect survived in his 
way of expressing himself, but his outlook became notably 
widened. Sympathy with what was good and earnest 
in all religious parties was the keynote of the Noetic 
theology, and Evangelicals found themselves treated with 

1 Letters, i. 105-7. 2 Ibid. I 114. 


respect and kindness a somewhat new experience, and a 
marked contrast to the attitude of the High Church 
party in their regard. Newman, as an Evangelical, was 
thus readily drawn to the new Oriel school, and in course 
of time won by their influence from the narrowness attach- 
ing to his early creed. From Hawkins especially he learned 
toleration, and a recognition that the sharp division of men 
into converted and unconverted was untrue to the facts of 
lif e a feeling which was further developed by the reading of 
Summer's Apostolical Preaching.' He read Butler 's ^Analy- 
ogy/ which placed his religion on a philosophical basis and 
rescued him from emotionalism. From Whately he learnt 
not only breadth of sympathy, but the idea of a Church, and 
of tradition as a guardian of religious truth. 

The breadth of horizon thus imparted to Newman's views, 
while it drew him away from the Evangelicals, at the same 
time made his intellectual attitude very different from that of 
most of those from whom the Tract party was drawn later on. 
These were the years of his intimacy with Blanco White, the 
brilliant Spaniard of partly Irish descent, who resided at that 
time In Oxford. Blanco White in his reaction from the 
Catholicism in which he was bred drifted into Rationalism, 
and probably Newman discussed more fundamental questions 
with him than with any others of his intimates. 'Adieu, my 
Oxford Plato/ is the termination of one of Blanco White's 
letters to his friend. These years also saw the beginning of 
another friendship bringing an influence spiritual rather than 
intellectual with Edward Bouverie Pusey, with whom he 
was not at the time in agreement on matters theological 
Perhaps Newman's reputation as a thinker pure and simple 
though confined to a comparatively small circlewas at 
its highest in these days of his youth, when the bent of his 
mind was towards liberalism. 

Newman accepted the curacy of St. Clement's, offered 
to him at Pusey's suggestion, on May 16, 1824, and took 
Orders in that year. He also occasionally took Mr. Mayer's 
duty at Worton. While religion was his greatest interest 
his gifts and tastes were varied. He loved mathematics, and 
the study of Church history was, even in those years, a 
favourite pursuit with him. His senses were exceptionally 


keen. He chose the wines for his College cellars though he 
himself drank very sparingly. He played the violin with con- 
siderable proficiency often in concert with Blanco White 
having begun to learn at the age of ten. He took extra- 
ordinary delight in the beauties of nature. 

He spent a fortnight of the Long Vacation of 1825 with 
his friend J. W. Bowden at Southampton, going there on 
September 27, and was taken to the Isle of Wight by his 
host, who had friends there in the Ward family, with whom 
he was later on connected by marriage, for Bowden and Sir 
Henry Ward 1 both married daughters of Sir John Swinburne 
of Capheaton. Newman's intense love of nature made him 
revel in the beautiful scenery of the island. 'The beauty of 
water and land/ he writes after an expedition to the Needles 
on September 28, 'only makes me regret that our language 
has not more adjectives of admiration.' On October 2 he 
records dining with Mr. Ward (the grandfather of William 
George Ward, with whom he was later on so closely asso- 
ciated) at Northwood House, near Cowes. He returned to 
Southampton on the 6th and to Oxford on the isth. 

In the following year began his acquaintance with Hurrell 
Froude, who was elected Fellow of Oriel on March 31. 
The visit to the Isle of Wight had left pleasant memories 
and was repeated in 1826. But its beauties paled before 
those of Dartington, where he stayed with the Froudes a 
little later. Of this lovely country he writes: 

'What strikes me most is the strange richness of every- 
thing. The rocks blush into every variety of colour, the trees 
and fields are emeralds, and the cottages are rubies. A 
beetle I picked up at Torquay was as green and gold as the 
stone it lay upon, and a squirrel which ran up a tree just now 
was not the pale reddish-brown to which I am accustomed, 
but a bright brown-red. Nay, my very hands and fingers 
look rosy, like Homer's Aurora, and I have been gazing 
on them with astonishment. All this wonder I know is 
simple, and therefore, of course, do not you repeat it. The 
exuberance of the grass and the foliage is oppressive, as if 
one had not room to breathe, though this is a fancy the depth 

1 A nephew of Mr. Ward, of the Isle of Wight, and afterwards Governor of 
Ceylon. Sir Henry Ward's father was the well-known statesman and novelist 
Robert Plumer Ward, the friend of William Pitt, and author of Tremaine. 


of the valleys and the steepness of the slopes increase the 
illusion and the Duke of Wellington would be in a fidget 
to get some commanding point to see the country from. 
The scents are extremely fine, so very delicate yet so 
powerful, and the colours of the flowers as if they were all 
shot with white. The sweet peas especially have the com- 
plexion of a beautiful face. They trail up the wall mixed 
with myrtles as creepers. As to the sunset the Dartmoor 
heights look purple, and the sky close upon them a clear 
orange. When I turn back and think of Southampton 
Water and the Isle of Wight, they seem by contrast to be 
drawn in Indian Ink or pencil. Now I cannot make out 
that this is fancy; for why should I fancy? I am not 
especially in a poetic mood. I have heard of the brilliancy 
of Cintra, and still more of the East, and I suppose that this 
region would pale beside them; yet I am content to marvel 
at what I see, and think of Virgil's description of the purple 
meads of Elysium. Let me enjoy what I fed, even though I 
may unconsciously exaggerate. 5 

In 1826 Newman was appointed one of the public 
tutors of Oriel, resigning the curacy of St. Clement's. And 
in 1828 he was made Vicar of St. Mary's. In the same year 
Hurrell Froude and Robert Wilberforce 1 were appointed 
tutors of Oriel, and henceforth Newman's friendship with 
Froude was far more intimate, and exercised a marked in- 
fluence on his life. 

We now come to what I have defined as the second 
period of his Oxford career. A serious illness in 1827 and 
the loss of his sister Mary in January 1828 made an epoch 
in his life, and greatly developed his religious nature. To 
this sister he had been specially devoted. She had been 
in delicate health. But her death was at the last sudden. 
His letters show how her memory haunts him. He bids the 
family set down in writing all they can remember about her. 
'It draws tears to my eyes/ he writes, 'to think that all of 
a sudden we can only converse about her as about some 
inanimate object, wood or stone. But she shall "flourish 
from the tomb." And in the meantime, it being but a little 

1 The brother of Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, and of Newman's 
intimate friend Henry Wilberforce. He ultimately became a Catholic. 


time, I would try to talk to her in imagination and in hope 
of the future by setting down all I can think of about her.' 
He wrote on her loss his well-known poem ' Consolations 
in Bereavement/ and reflected sadly how she would have 
loved his lines because they were his. 'May I be patient/ 
he writes. 'It is so difficult to realise what one believes, and 
to make these trials, as they are intended, real blessings.' 
For months her image haunts him when he is out riding, 
and in bed at night. Two letters illustrate his state of 

C I never felt so intensely the transitory nature of this 
world/ he writes to his sister Jemima in May 1828 after an 
expedition to the country, 'as when most delighted with 
these country scenes. And in riding out to-day I have been 
impressed more powerfully than before I had an idea was 
possible with the two lines; 

c " Chanting with a solemn voice 
Minds us of our better choice/' 

I could hardly believe the lines were not my own, and Keble 
had not taken them from me. I wish it were possible for 
words to put down those indefinite, vague, and withal subtle 
feelings which pierce the soul and make it sick. Dear Mary 
seems embodied in every tree and hid behind every hill. 
What a veil and curtain this world of sense is! beautiful, but 
still a veil/ 

And again, some months later, to his sister Harriet: 

A solemn voice seems to chant from everything. I know 
whose voice it is her dear voice. Her form is almost 
nightly before me, when I have put out the light and lain 
down. Is not this a blessing?' 

The change wrought in his attitude on religion, which 
gradually affected his views, was a very important one. 
The element of eclecticism which went with his incipient 
liberalism, the recognition of elements of truth in all the 
religious schools of thought, the placing of religion on an 
intellectual rather than an emotional basis, dissipated, as 
we have seen, the narrowness of his early Evangelicalism and 
Calvinism though he ever retained certain Evangelical 
mannerisms of expression. But in face of the deep religious- 
ness which had now come on him he felt that he was beginning 


to overvalue the intellectual element. The human intellect 
in fallen man actually and historically, he held, if left to 
itself, issues in infidelity. 1 Yet to acquiesce in infidelity was 
to deny what was most certain to him, 'the chain in every 
link complete 3 between himself and God which had been 
to him since his conversion the most unquestionable of 
realities. He turned to the thought of those to whom in 
the past the supernatural world had been the great source 
of inspiration. There had been great minds in the past 
whom spiritual gilts had protected from the onesidedness 
of intellectualism. To these he looked for guidance. 
There arose again the vision of the Church of the early 
Fathers which he has described as a 'paradise of delight' 
to him. This vision had fired his imagination when he read 
Milner's 'Church History' as a boy; and now the thought 
of the Fathers came with fresh significance. In their career 
and writings he saw religion in action, moulding the world 
and conquering men's hearts. The obvious living representa- 
tive in his eyes of the Church of the Fathers, enfeebled 
indeed, but still capable of restitution, was the Church of 
his birth. The liberals were striving to undermine her, to 
destroy the ecclesiastical institutions which represented her 
descent from those early Fathers whose lives and writings 
so greatly moved him. Newman, reacting against his former 
friends, the liberal school of Oriel, and strongly affected 
by the influence of Hurrell Froude, took sides with the 
High Church party as a supporter of the Church. He came 
also under the influence of John Keble, with whom Fronde 
brought him into friendly relations about 1828. At the 
same time, as Vicar of St. Mary's he began those memorable 
parochial sermons whereby, as Principal Shairp has told us, 
he made Oxford feel as though one of the early Fathers 
had come back to earth. The new accession of apostolic 
and religious zeal affected likewise his work as a College 
tutor. Differences arose with the Provost, Dr. Hawkins, as 
to the duties of the tutorship, which Newman regarded as 
a quasi-pastoral work. In this view Hurrell Froude and 
Robert Wilberforce, who were appointed tutors at this time, 
concurred. Their attitude was one of strong opposition to 
1 Apologia , p. 243. 


certain long-standing abuses, and of hostility to the gentle- 
men commoners, men of birth and position, who were, 
Newman thought, treated with undue favouritism. On the 
other hand, the new tutors cultivated a special friendship 
with the pupils whom they regarded as most promising. 
Hawkins held that Newman was sacrificing the many to the 
few, and himself inaugurating a system of favouritism. The 
Provost eventually ceased to assign pupils to Newman and 
his two friends. 

In virtue of his relations with his pupils at Oriel and of 
the wide influence of his Sermons, the brilliant thinker, the 
friend of Whately and of Blanco White, became definitely, 
five years before the Tracts were thought of, a spiritual 
father to many one whose mind shrank from intellectualism, 
and embraced with all his heart the great Oxford motto 
'Dominus illuminatio mea.' 

And in the same year, 1828, Newman began systematically 
to read the Fathers, working at them almost uninterruptedly 
during the Long Vacation, and continuing to do so during the 
two subsequent years. He threw into his work not only 
the exceptional power of application which his letters reveal, 
but also his faculty of historical imagination which we see 
already at work in the History of the Arians' and still more so 
later on in the ' Essay on Development.' c The Fathers again 
rise full before me/ he writes in one letter. e I am so hungry 
for Irenseus and Cyprian, ' he writes in another letter, [that] 
I long for the vacation/ 

It was at this stage of his career that, identifying himself 
with High Church views, he became avowedly a party man 
and he, of all men, the champion of the c stupid party.' The 
paradox was not lost on him, and in a letter of the highest 
importance, to be cited shortly, he defends the position. The 
intellectual aristocracy of the day, it was true, found itself on 
the side of liberalism. The Noetic school of Oxford and the 
best talent at Cambridge were both liberal and intellectualist 
in their tendency. But Newman saw in this fact a great 
danger to be counteracted. A party must be formed to defend 
the Church, the guardian of those truths which are above 
reason against the assaults of brilliant intellectuality. 
Though he was never a traditionalist, Ms plea was in some 


respects like that which Vicomte de Bonald urged against 
the destructive principles of the Revolution. It was an 
appeal to the wisdom of the ages against the intellectualism 
of the hour. The revelation of God once given to the human 
race may, he argued, be doggedly preserved by faithful, even 
though unintellectual, guardians. The wisdom of God 
claimed to stand above the most brilliant talent of the passing 
generation. Truths divinely revealed, developed, and ex- 
plained by men of genius in the past, were preserved by that 
Church Catholic which was represented in our own country 
by the Church of England. 

The occasion for formulating and expressing these views 
was Catholic Emancipation in 1829. Newman had no decided 
views on the measure itself. But he considered that it was 
proposed on principles of indifferentism. The Papist was to 
be tolerated, just as the Socinian was to be tolerated. He 
regarded it as 'one of the signs of the times/ a sign of the 
encroachment of philosophism and indifferentism in the 
Church. When Peel offered himself for re-election, Newman 
vigorously opposed him, and the opposition was successful. 
'We have achieved a glorious victory/ he wrote to his 
mother on March i; 'it is the first public event I have been 
concerned in, and I thank God from my heart both for my 
cause and its success. We have proved the independence 
of the Church and of Oxford. ... We had the influence of 
government in unrelenting activity against us and the talent 
so-called of the University.' 

On March 13 he writes to his mother the letter already 
alluded to, indicating the grounds of his reaction against the 
liberalism which had for a time attracted him. He sketches 
in it his new position as contrasted with the liberalism whether 
of the Noetics or of the Cambridge school: 

* March 13, 1829. 

c We live in a novel era one in which there is an advance 
towards universal education. Men have hitherto depended 
on others, and especially on the clergy, for religious truth; 
now each man attempts to judge for himself. Now, without 
meaning of course that Christianity is in itself opposed to free 
enquiry, still I think it in fact at the present time opposed to 
the particular form which that liberty of thought has now 


assumed. Christianity is of faith, modesty, lowliness, sub- 
ordination; but the spirit at work against it is one of 
latitudinarianism, indifferentism, and schism, a spirit which 
tends to overthrow doctrine, as if the fruit of bigotry and 
discipline as if the instrument of priestcraft. All parties 
seem to acknowledge that the stream of opinion is setting 
against the Church. . . . 

'And now I come to another phenomenon: the talent of 
the day is against the Church. The Church party (visibly at 
least, for there may be latent talent, and great times give birth 
to great men) is poor in mental endowments. It has not 
activity, shrewdness, dexterity, eloquence, practical power. 
On what, then, does it depend? On prejudice and bigotry. 

4 This is hardly an exaggeration; yet I have good meaning 
and one honourable to the Church. Listen to my theory. 
As each individual has certain instincts of right and wrong 
antecedently to reasoning, on which he acts and rightly so 
which perverse reasoning may supplant, which then can 
hardly be regained, but, if regained, will be regained from a 
different source from reasoning, not from nature so, I think, 
has the world of men collectively. God gave them truths 
in His miraculous revelations, and other truths in the unso- 
phisticated infancy of nations, scarcely less necessary and 
divine. These are transmitted as "the wisdom of our ances- 
tors/' through men many of whom cannot enter into them 
or receive them themselves still on, on, from age to age, 
not the less truths because many of the generations through 
which they are transmitted are unable to prove them, but 
hold them, either from pious and honest feeling, it may be, 
or from bigotry or from prejudice. That they are truths it is 
most difficult to prove, for great men alone can prove great 
ideas or grasp them. Such a mind was Hooker's, such 
Butler's; and, as moral evil triumphs over good on a small 
field of action, so in the argument of an hour or the compass 
of a volume would men like Brougham, or, again, Wesley, 
show to far greater advantage than Hooker or Butler. Moral 
truth is gained by patient study, by calm reflection, silently 
as the dew falls unless miraculously given and when 
gained it is transmitted by faith and by "prejudice." Keble's 
book is full of such truths, which any Cambridge man 
might refute with the greatest ease.' l 

Almost released now from his labours as tutor (for while 
the Provost gave him no fresh pupils, each year diminished 

1 Letters^ i. 204, seq. 


the number of those who remained), his patristic reading grew 
more systematic. The Fathers deepened his opposition to 
liberalism; but the element of intolerance which was now 
visible in him had no affinity to the narrowness of his 
Calvinistic and Evangelical days. Though he waged war on 
inteilectualism, there was no return to a merely emotional 
religion. The vision of the Church Catholic grew ever more 
distinct. It embodied in its theology the results of the 
labours of the great thinkers of patristic times and their 
successors. That theology was a precious intellectual legacy, 
but it was also a standing protest against mere intellectual- 
ism. The sacred traditions inherited from the past were the 
basis of Christian theology and a touchstone of the truth of 
its more recent speculations. There could be no greater 
contrast to the self-sufficient intellectualism of the hour. 

In the summer of 1830 he was asked by Dr. Jenkyns to 
aid in a projected Ecclesiastical History. Newman declined 
to make any contribution to it which should be in the form of 
a merely popular work. 'An ecclesiastical history/ he wrote 
to Dr. Jenkyns, ' whether long or short ought to be derived 
from original sources, and not to be compiled from the stand- 
ard authorities.' But the idea of writing history grew upon 
him. In the end he consented to write a serious work on 
the 'Arians of the Fourth Century.' His sense, both of the 
importance of the work and of the complexity of such an his- 
torical study to a genuine student, is expressed in his letters 
to Froude written in August 1831: 

( I have nothing to say except that my work opens a 
grand and most interesting field to me; but how I shall ever 
be able to make one assertion, much less to write one page, 
I cannot tell. Any one, pure categorical, would need an 
age of reading and research. I shall confine myself to 
hypothetical; your "if" is a great philosopher, as well as 
peacemaker/ 1 

And again: 

( Recollect, my good sir, that every thought I think is 
thought, and every word I write is writing, and that thought 
tells, and that words take room, and that, though I make 
the introduction the whole book, yet a book it is; and, 

1 Letters > i. 245. 


though this will not steer clear of the egg blunder, to have 
an introduction leading to nothing, yet it is not losing time. 
Already I have made forty-one pages out of eighteen. 7 l 

The subject was congenial to Newman for one reason 
especially. It was chiefly the state of the Church in the fourth 
century which enabled him to think of the Established Church 
of England as a part of the Church Catholic. He could not 
deny that the English Sees were in 1830 filled by Protestant 
bishops. But then so were multitudes of Catholic Sees in 
A.D. 360 filled by Arian bishops. He and his friends were 
in the position of faithful Catholics in those days, who kept 
the faith in spite of their bishops. He could only hope that 
an Athanasius or a Basil would arise in England. Perhaps 
there was some subconscious presage that he himself might 
be destined to take the place of those great champions of 
truth in the nineteenth century. But with this historical 
parallel to give him confidence in his position, he considered 
in the course of his history the deeper problems of Christian 
faith and the analogy in the fourth century to his own cam- 
paign against liberalism and intellectualism. 

Two sections of his work are of great importance in this 
connection. One concerns the ' economical ' 2 character of all 
religious creeds. Basing his treatment on St. Clement of 
Alexandria, and exhibiting the Alexandrian teaching, as he 
says in the ' Apologia/ 'with the partiality of a neophyte,' 3 
he argues that all religion is from God, and that Christianity 
corrects rather than abolishes false religions. But even in 
the Christian theology itself Divine things are seen ' through 
a glass darkly/ the human intellect being unequal to their 
adequate comprehension. 4 Thus the task of the Christian 

1 Letters, i 254. 

2 For Newman's use of the word 'economy' see University Sermons, p. 65 
note', also pp. 199, 264, 269. See also Arians, pp. 77 scq. In the Apologia he 
speaks of the doctrine of the economy as one of the * underlying principles of a 
great portion of my teaching' (p. 10). See also Apologia, p. 243. 

3 Apologia, p. 26. 

4 'If we would speak correctly, we must confess, on the authority of the 
Bible itself, that all knowledge of religion is from Him, and not only that which 
the Bible has transmitted to us. There never was a time when God had not 
spoken to man, and told him to a certain extent his duty. His injunctions to 
Noah, the common father of all mankind, is the first recorded fact of the sacred 
history after the Deluge. Accordingly, we are expressly told in the New Testa- 


who would convert the heathen is not to destroy his religion, 
but to purify it, and restore the original good elements of a 
creed which has been corrupted. 1 

He was alive to the charge of narrowness and formalism 
made by the liberals against the multiplied and minute propo- 
sitions of orthodox theology. The answer lay in their origin 
and their history. They were gradually formulated in order 
to preserve the fundamental truths of the Christian and 
Catholic creed. He regarded the crystallisation of portions 
of the early creed into definite formula as a protection grad- 
ually called for much as in a civil polity laws are passed 
to prevent infringements on the rules necessary for social 
life. In a simpler society these rules may be secured 
and better secured by custom or good feeling; as society 
grows more complex, laws have to be enacted with correlative 
penalties as their sanction. So, too, the corrupting influence 
of heresy eventually made exactitude of theological expres- 
sion a necessity to secure the permanence of the general 
character what he afterwards called the Hype' of primitive 

meat that at no time He left Himself without witness in the world, and that in 
every nation He accepts those who fear and obey Him. It would seem, then, 
that there is something true and divinely revealed in every religion all over the 
earth, overloaded, as it may be, and at times even stifled, by the impieties which 
the corrupt will and understanding of man have incorporated with it. Such are 
the doctrines of the power and presence of an invisible God, of His moral law and 
governance, of the obligation of duty and the certainty of a just judgment, and of 
reward and punishment, as eventually dispensed to individuals; so that Revela- 
tion, properly speaking, is an universal, not a local gift; and the distinction be- 
tween the state of Israelites formerly and Christians now, and that of the heathen, 
is, not that we can and they cannot attain to future blessedness, but that the 
Church of God ever has had, and the rest of mankind never have had, authori- 
tative documents of truth and appointed channels of communication with Him. 
The Word and the Sacraments are the characteristic of the elect people of God; 
but all men have had more or less the guidance of tradition, in addition to those 
internal notions of right and wrong which the Spirit has put into the heart of each 
individual. This vague and uncertain family of religious truths, originally from 
God, but sojourning, without the sanction of miracle or a definite home, as pil- 
grims up and down the world, and discernible and separable from the corrupt 
legends with which they are mixed by the spiritual mind alone, may be called the 
Dispensation of Paganism, after the example of the learned Father already 
quoted.' Arians of the Fourth Century, p. 79. 

1 'While he strenuously opposes all that is idolatrous, immoral, and profane 
in their creed, he will profess to be leading them on to perfection, and to be re- 
covering and purifying, rather than reversing, the essential principles of their 
belief /IWdL p. 84. 


Christianity. Moreover, as the apostolic period receded into 
the distant past, the impressions l of Christianity among the 
faithful lost their early vividness another reason why dog- 
matic creeds became necessary. The necessity was, however, 
not congenial to the Church. 2 And the original impression 
of Catholic truth which the propositions protected was 
something far more than the propositions by themselves 

Next, taking the doctrine of the Trinity as his example, 
he analyses the process whereby the simpler language of the 
early Fathers is replaced by the dogmatic propositions of 
the Athanasian Creed. These propositions, as expressing 
human ideas of Divine realities, are necessarily imperfect. 
Yet they are not merely on a par, as Coleridge seems to 
have held, with the economical teachings of other religions. 3 
They are the truth so far as human weakness allows us to 
know Divine truth. 4 

But while it is clear that the Church's creeds and defini- 
tions, in so far as they employ human words and figures, 
cannot be adequate to the Divine Reality, nevertheless they 
must be definite and imperatively enforced. 'If the Church 
would be vigorous and influential/ he writes, 'it must be 
decided and plainspoken in its doctrine.' Otherwise the 

1 For Newman's use of the word 'impression' see University Sermons, pp. 
333> 334J sec a * so PP 33 2 > 33^ anc * 35 * or a * u ^ er ex P ression * tne analysis of 
his position given in the text. 

2 'While the line of tradition, drawn out as it was to the distance of two 
centuries from the Apostles, had at length become of too frail a texture to resist 
the touch of subtle and ill-directed reason, the Church was naturally unwilling 
to have recourse to the novel, though necessary, measure of imposing an 
authoritative creed upon those whom it invested with the office of teaching. 
If I avow my belief that freedom from symbols and articles is abstractedly the 
highest state of Christian communion, and the peculiar privilege of the primitive 
Church, it is not from any tenderness towards that proud impatience of control 
in which many exult, as in a virtue; but, first, because technicality and formalism 
are, in their degree, inevitable results of public confessions of faith; and next, 
because when confessions do not exist, the mysteries of Divine truth, instead of 
being exposed to the gaze of the profane and uninstructed, are kept hidden in the 
bosom of the Church far more faithfully than is otherwise possible.' Arians t 

* Newman speaks of Coleridge as 'looking at the Church, sacraments, 
doctrines, &c., rather as symbols of a philosophy than as truths as the mere 
accidental type of principles.' Letters, il i$6. 

4 See Arians, p. 143, and University Sermons, p. 350. 


subtle heretical intellect, so active in Arian days, would claim 
apostolic and even Papal sanction for its teaching. 1 

He never revised these views after 1845, and we have no 
means of knowing how he would have treated the subject 
had he written on it in his later years. The importance of 
the 'Arians' is mainly historical, as indicating the train of 
thought which actually brought about his Catholic develop- 
ment and his revolt from liberalism. 

'The Arians of the Fourth Century' was finished in June. 
As he wrote the last part his exhaustion was so great that 
he was frequently on the point of fainting. After it was 
finished a holiday was a crying need. He visited Cambridge 
in July for the first time. The genius loci seized him, and 
perhaps the need of relaxation after the tension of his work 
made his pleasure the keener. Anyhow, he writes of it to his 

mother with enthusiasm: 

'Cambridge: July 16, 1832. 

'Having come to this place with no anticipations, I am 
quite taken by surprise and overcome with delight. ^When I 
saw at the distance of four miles, on an extended plain, wider 
than the Oxford, amid thicker and greener groves, the Alma 
Mater Cantabrigiensis lying before me, I thought I should 
not be able to contain myself, and, in spite of my regret at 
her present defects and past history, and all that is wrong 
about her, I seemed about to cry "Ploreat aeterwwn" Surely 
there is a genius loci here, as in my own dear home; and the 
nearer I came to it the more I felt its power.' 2 

But a far more tempting holiday than the visit to Cam- 
bridge was planned in September. Hurrell Froude was to o 
to the Mediterranean for his health, and he asked Newman to 
accompany him. They started in December, and the journey 
proved a memorable one. Like Darwin's voyage oti the 
Beagk> it was a pause in routine work which led to fruitful 
meditation. The Church of England was at the moment in 
imminent peril. The Liberal party was frankly aiming at her 
disestablishment. She was, in Mr. Mozley's phrase, 'folding 
her robes about her to die with what dignity she could** 
Newman writes in the 'Apologia': 'The bill for the suppres- 
sion of the Irish Sees was in progress. I had fierce thoughts 
1 Arians, p. 35. 2 Letters, I 265. 


against the Liberals. 5 The sights in the course of his travels 
that reminded him vividly of the early Fathers blended with 
these thoughts. A champion was needed for 'our Northern 
Church' to rekindle faith and zeal in an evil day. 'If we 
had our Athanasius or Basil/ he wrote, c we could bear with 
twenty Eusebius ' ! 7 It was during this voyage that he wrote 
his poern on Athanasius. The poem tells also of the work 
of Cyprian, of Chrysostom, of Ambrose. It ends with the 

' Dim future, shall we need 
A prophet for truth's creed ?' 

The Mediterranean awakened a host of historic memories, 
including St. Paul's shipwreck and St. Athanasius' voyage to 
Rome. The sight of Africa again recalled scenes of history 
both pagan and Christian. I thought 'of the Phoenicians, 
Tyre, of the Punic wars, of Cyprian, and the glorious churches 
now annihilated.' l 

On his sister Harriet's birthday he passes Ithaca. Again 
to his mother he writes: 

f l could not have believed that the view of these parts 
would have so enchanted me. . . . Not from classical asso- 
ciations, but the thought that what I saw before me was 
the reality of what had been the earliest vision of my child- 
hood. ... I gazed on It by the quarter of an hour together, 
being quite satisfied by the sight of the rock. I thought of 
Ham, and of all the various glimpses which memory barely 
retains, and which fly from me when I pursue them, of that 
earliest time of life when one seems almost to realise the 
remnants of a pre-existing state. Oh, how I longed to touch 
the land, and to satisfy myself that it was not a mere vision 
that I saw before me! 7 2 

The leisure afforded him by his voyage, and the stimula- 
tion given to his fancy by all that he saw, found vent in 
verse-making, and of his published poems, if we exclude the 
'Dream of Geiontius/ about four-fifths were written in those 
weeks. Many of the verses contain indications of a sub- 
conscious presage of the future. The thought of prophets 
and the leaders of great movements in the Church frequently 

1 Letters, i. 306. 2 Ibid, i. 317. 


reappears in them. These poems (published for the most 
part in the 'Lyra Apostolica 7 ), though written hastily as 
outpourings of the heart, have been ranked very high by some 
of our best critics. 'For grandeur of outline, purity of taste 
and radiance of total effect/ writes Mr. Hutton, l l know 
hardly any short poems in the language that equal them, 3 1 

A very interesting letter to his sister Harriet, written at 
Corfu, shows us how he himself estimated the ecstasies 
which foreign travel aroused in him. So complex an atti- 
tude as he described may have been only a passing mood, 
but the letter is a curious illustration of his high-strung and 
sensitive nature: 

'I have a great deal to say, but fear I shall forget it. No 
description can give you any idea of what I have seen, but I 
will not weary you with my delight; yet does it not seem a 
strange paradox to say that, though I am so much pleased, 
I am not interested? That is, I don't think I should care 
rather I should be very glad to find myself suddenly trans- 
ported to my rooms at Oriel, with my oak sported, and I 
lying at full length on my sofa. After all, every kind of 
exertion is to me an effort: whether or not my mind has 
been strained and wearied with the necessity of constant 
activity, I know not; or whether, having had many disap- 
pointments, and suffered much from the rudeness and slights 
of persons I have been cast with, I shrink involuntarily from 
the contact of the world, and, whether or not natural dis- 
position assists this feeling, and a perception almost morbid 
of my deficiencies and absurdities anyhow, neither the 
kindest attentions nor the most sublime sights have over me 
influence enough to draw me out of the way, and, deliberately 
as I have set about my present wanderings, yet I heartily 
wish they were over, and I only endure the sights, and had 
much rather have seen them than see them, though the while 
I am extremely astonished and almost enchanted at them. J * 

After a sojourn at Malta he sails to Naples, visiting 
Palermo and Egesta on his way. 

Naples saddens him. 'The state of the Church is 
deplorable/ he writes. 'It seems as if Satan was let out of 
prison to range the whole earth again.' 

1 R. H. Hutton's Cardinal Newman (Methuen), p. 44, 

2 Letters, i. 320-21. 


Then came Rome. All his letters show that the city 
made a profound impression on him. 'A wonderful place 
the first city, mind, which I have ever much praised/ he 
writes the day after his arrival. 'The most wonderful place 
in the world/ he says in another letter. 

And in yet another he writes : 

'And now what can I say of Rome, but that it is the 
first of cities, and that all I ever saw are but as dust (even 
dear Oxford inclusive) compared with its majesty and glory? 
Is it possible that so serene and lofty a place is the cage of 
unclean creatures? I will not believe it till I have evi- 
dence of it. In St. Peter's yesterday, in St. John Lateran 
to-day, I have felt quite abased, chiefly by their enormous 
size, added to the extreme accuracy and grace of their 
proportions, which make one feel little and contemptible/ l 

The feeling about Rome was profound and lasting. It 
reappears in letter after letter. But he does not doubt that 
the religion it harbours is a 'wretched perversion of the 
truth.' There was ' great appearance of piety in the churches/ 
but it is a ' city still under a curse/ 

The lines written on his journey home show the same 

*0 that thy creed were sound! 

For thou dost soothe the heart, thou Church of Rome, 
By thy unwearied watch and varied round 
Of service, in thy Saviour's holy home/ 

His final verdict is thus given: 

'As to the Roman Catholic system, I have ever detested 
it so much that I cannot detest it more by seeing it; but 
to the Catholic system I am more attached than ever, and 
quite love the little monks (seminarists) of Rome; they look 
so innocent and bright, poor boys! and we have fallen in, 
more or less, with a number of interesting Irish and English 
priests. I regret that we could form no intimate acquaint- 
ance with them. I fear there are very grave and far-spread- 
ing scandals among the Italian priesthood, and there is 
mummery in abundance; yet there is a deep substratum of 
true Christianity; and I think they may be as near truth 
at the least as that Mr. B., 2 whom I like less and less every 
day/ 3 

1 Letters, i. 358. 2 Who Mr. B. was I do not know. 

3 Letters, i. 378-9. 


His last letter from Rome, written on April 7, shows no 
abatement of enthusiasm. What he saw there 'has stolen 
away half my heart/ lie writes. 'Oh that Rome was not 
Rome I But I seem to see as clear as day that union with 
her is impossible.' 

For three weeks in Sicily, whither he returned from Rome, 
he had a dangerous fever. He gave his servant instructions 
as to what he should do in the event of his death, but added 
that he did not think he should die, for he believed that God 
had a work for him to do. This illness he ever regarded as 
a crisis in his life. He has left a memorandum of his feelings 
at the time, in which we find also a searching self-examination. 
He seems to have felt that he was in some sense chosen by 
God and might be called to a great work; yet he trembles 
lest he should therefore regard himself as a great man. The 
note of 'D online non sum dignus' is struck in his words; and 
it is strange that some modern writers should have taken 
advantage of the self-accusation of a Christian who dreads 
to spoil his work by pride, and should find in it evidence 
of his weaknesses rather than of the high standard which 
made him dwell insistently on each sign of human frailty. 

f l felt and kept saying to myself C I have not sinned 
against light," and at one time I had a most consoling, over- 
powering thought of God's electing love, and seemed to feel I 
was His. But I believe all my feelings, painful and pleasant, 
were heightened by somewhat of delirium, though they still 
are from God in the way of Providence. Next day the self- 
reproaching feelings increased. I seemed to see more and 
more my utter hollowness. I began to think of all my 
professed principles, and felt they were mere intellectual 
deductions from one or two admitted truths. I compared 
myself with Keble, and felt that I was merely developing 
his, not my, convictions. I know I had very clear thoughts 
about this then, and I believe in the main true ones. Indeed, 
this is how I look on myself; very much, (as the illustration 
goes) as a pane of glass, which transmits heat, being cold 
itself. I have a vivid perception of the consequences of 
certain admitted principles, have a considerable intellectual 
capacity of drawing them out, have the refinement to admire 
them, and a rhetorical or histrionic power to represent them; 
and, having no great (i.e. no vivid) love of this world, whether 
riches, honours, or anything else, and some firmness and 


natural dignity of character, take the profession of them upon 
me, as I might sing a tune which I liked loving the Truth, 
but not possessing it, for I believe myself at heart to be 
nearly hollow, i.e. with little love, little self-denial. I believe 
I have some faith, that is all; and as to my sins, they need 
my possessing no little amount of faith to set against them 
and gain their remission.' 1 

The sense of human frailty and sinfulness was accom- 
panied by a self- abandoning trust in God. He felt that he 
must do his duty and that God would do the rest for him. 

'Iliad a strange feeling on my mind/ he writes, 'that God 
meets those who go on in His way, who remember Him in His 
way, in the paths of the Lord; that I must put myself in His 
path, His way, that I must do my part, and that He met 
those who rejoiced and worked righteousness, and remembered 
Him and His ways some texts of this kind kept haunting 
me, and I determined to set out by daybreak.' 2 

The sense that God was leading him on to some task, he 
knew not what, seems to have remained with him thenceforth. 
On his homeward voyage to Marseilles, when becalmed in the 
Straits of Bonifacio, he wrote on June 16, 'Lead, kindly Light/ 
which, well known though it is, must be set down in any 
record of his life: 

'Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, 

Lead Thou me on! 
The night is dark, and I am far from home 

Lead Thou me on! 

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see 
The distant scene, one step enough for me. 

* I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou 

Shouldst lead me on. 
I loved to choose and see my path ; but now 

Lead Thou me on! 

' I loved the garish day, and spite of fears, 
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years. 

1 So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still 

Will lead me on 
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till 

The night is gone; 

And with the morn those angel faces smile 
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile/ 

* Letters, L 416-7. 2 Ibid. i. 4*9' 


Newman came back to England full of the spring and 
vitality which, follows convalescence. The thoughts over 
which he and Froude had brooded while abroad had, to use 
Dean Church's words, i broken out in papers sent home 
from time to time' to Rose's British Magazine, and Home 
Thoughts Abrcad, and In Newman's own contributions 
already spoken of to the 'Lyra Apostolica.' And he landed 
in July at a critical moment. The blow at the Established 
Church which had been so deeply resented when in con- 
templation had now fallen. Ten Irish bishoprics had been 
suppressed at a sweep. Disestablishment seemed imminent 
in England itself. For Newman the Established Church 
was still the Catholic Church in England, although corrupted 
by Protestant heresy. If the strength of the Established 
Church was, as he felt, the most effectual safeguard in 
England against the plausible liberalism of the day which 
must eventually issue in infidelity, to defend the Church and 
to purify it was the great need of the hour. Froude and 
Keble and Palmer had already discussed the situation in 
the Oriel Common Room, and pledged themselves to ' write 
and associate in defence of the Church.' Newman now 
threw himself heart and soul into the movement which 
marked out the third and last period of his Anglican career. 
On July 14 Keble preached his famous sermon on 'The 
National Apostasy.' The 'Tracts for the Times' began in 
September, the immediate ostensible programme they were 
to advocate being the defence of the Apostolical Succession 
and of the integrity of the Prayer-Book. That the Church 
of England was a part of the Church Catholic had been 
maintained by the great Anglican divines of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries, but their view had fallen into 
comparative disrepute in the eighteenth. The writers of the 
Tracts were bent on restoring its predominance. The root- 
principle, however, for which they fought was the spiritual 
independence of the Church and the defeat of Erastianism. 
The thought of St. Ambrose in his combats with Valentinian 
and Theodosius inspired these writers. The Tracts were 
independent the work of several minds agreeing in general 
principles, but not in detail. 

The story of the gradually growing influence of the 


Tracts has often been told. They were unsigned. The 
solitary exception to this rule was Dr. Pusey's Tract on 
Baptism, to which he appended his initials. It was mainly 
owing to this circumstance that the party became known in 
the country at large as Puseyites. Among those in close 
touch with Oxford it was (in its earlier years) more often 
designated Newmanite. In three years the movement 
became a power in Oxford and in the country. In 1836 
the Tracts became treatises, and some, notably Tract 85, 
were of a somewhat philosophical character. In the same 
year Newman began to edit the Library of the Fathers 
English versions of the great patristic writings. He also 
undertook, in 1836, the editorship of the British Critic as 
the organ of the party. That year saw Newman and Pusey 
at the head of the successful agitation which issued in the 
censure of Dr. Hampden by Convocation on his appointment 
by the Government as Regius Professor of Divinity, on the 
ground of his unorthodox views. The majority was nearly 
five to one, and recorded an emphatic protest on the part 
of the University against Erastianism. 

Many of the ideas which the movement embodied had 
found first expression in the writings of Keble, the author of 
'The Christian Year/ The impulse to take action had 
largely proceeded from the adventurous spirit of Hurrell 
Froude. But in Newman's own mind the movement had 
relation to a deeper problem than the ecclesiastical questions 
which exercised Ms two friends. His intellect was more 
speculative than Froude's, his thought more systematic than 
Keble's. In much that he wrote he was taking part in that 
inquiry into the foundations of all belief which the negative 
thinkers of the eighteenth century had made so necessary- 
Hume and Gibbon in England, the Encyclopedists in France. 
It has been truly said that the Oriel Noetic school was in 
some sense an outcome of the French Revolution. Both his 
share in their speculations and his subsequent reaction had 
set Newman thinking, and while Coleridge was preaching a 
philosophy of conservatism against Benthamism and radi- 
calism, Newman found in the Catholic tradition latent in 
Anglicanism a more practical antidote to a rationalism which 
must issue in religious negation. It was in this deeper view 


of the bearing of the Anglican controversy that his stand- 
point differed from that of most of Ms colleagues. From 
beginning to end the Catholic movement was in his eyes 
the only effective check on the advancing tide of unbelief. 
'He anticipates/ testifies Mr. Aubrey de Vere some years 
later, 'an unprecedented outburst of infidelity all over the 
world, and to withstand it he deems his especial vocation.' l 

In a note written near the end of his life he states that 
from the time when he turned his serious attention to 
theology he felt the insufficiency of the current Christian 
apologetic as a reply to the abler exponents of rationalistic 
views. In the Middle Ages many of the deepest thinkers 
had been Christians. Now the predominant philosophy of 
the day, the intellect of the day, was against Christianity. 
He believed the necessary antidote to be double first, the 
erection of a stronger intellectual defence of Christianity; but 
secondly (and this was the more pressing need), to strengthen 
the Church, which was the normal guardian of dogma for the 
many. He held (as we have seen in his book on the Arians) 
that definite dogmatic propositions, although the human ideas 
they employed were inadequate to the divine Reality, were 
the great safeguard of revealed truth. A deeper philosophy 
of dogma than that currently recognised was one of those 
very additions to apologetic which he desired. Thus his two 
defences had a common element. In all of this his thought 
was running on the very lines trodden already by S. T. 
Coleridge. f During this spring/ he writes in 1835, X for 
the first time read parts of Coleridge's works ; and I am sur- 
prised how much that I thought mine is to be found there.' - 

The philosophy of faith formed the subject of the 
remarkable sermons preached before the University, and 
afterwards published in 1843 as a volume. He character- 
ises this volume in writing to James Hope as 'the best, 
not the most perfect, book I have done. I mean there 
is more to develop in it though it is imperfect/ 3 The 

1 Life of Aubrey de Vere, p, 182. 

2 Letters, ii. 39. But there were differences between the two thinkers cf. 
PP- 54> 93> 156. Some writers have, I observe, quoted Newman's letter in old 
age stating that he ' never read a line of Coleridge.' It is not the only instance 
in which his memory was in later years seriously at fault. 

3 See Letters, ii. p. 407, 


sermons were an attempt to show the really philosophical 
temper underlying the Gospel ideal of faith a right dis- 
position of the mind making the divinity of Christianity 
readily credible. This disposition included a realisation of 
all that made a revelation antecedently probable. Evidence 
insufficient apart from the presumption thereby afforded 
was sufficient with its aid. The simple and uneducated mind 
was capable of a reasonable faith. There was philosophical 
wisdom in the Church as a whole; and the faith of individuals 
was a spontaneous participation in the fruits of that wisdom. 
The ' foolishness' of the Gospel in the eyes of the man of 
the world, its opposition to the wisdom of the world, was 
recognised by him to the full. What was stigmatised by the 
world as credulity and folly was really the instinctive trust of 
an individual Christian in a wisdom higher than his own. 

This view underlay the Gospels themselves. But it had 
fallen out of the current Anglican apologetic. Yet it was (he 
held) essentially necessary. The sermons were a profound 
effort to analyse that wisdom and philosophy which con- 
sciously or unconsciously swayed the believer, and to exhibit 
the shallowness of the merely worldly wisdom which issues 
in unbelief. Reason and Failh were contrasted; but Reason 
meant in Newman's pages the exercise of the intellect with the 
assumption of secular maxims and with no recognition of the 
light shed on the problems of Faith by the moral nature. 

The University Sermons, except only the first, which 
belongs to 1826, were preached during the progress of the 
movement. They were 'caviare to the general,' for the 
questioning attitude on religious belief was not yet wide- 
spread among their readers. But by the more speculative 
minds in Oxford, as W. G. Ward and the students of 
Coleridge, they were regarded, as by Newman himself, as 
containing his best and most valuable thoughts. 

The more practical side of the controversy the formula- 
tion of his Via Media 7 of Anglican theology against liberalism 
and Protestantism on the one side and Popery on the other, 
was worked out in his lectures on the prophetical office 
of the Church, delivered in 1837. These lectures were 
largely based on a correspondence with a French priest, the 
Abbe Jager, and the position taken up in them was directly 


anti-Roman. The English Roman Catholics were in them 
regarded as schismatics. 

The parochial sermons at St. Mary's, however, were the 
main instrument of Newman's influence on the Oxford of 
those years. They appealed to a far wider class than the 
University Sermons, and the indelible impression they 
made oa many minds has been recorded by eminent men 
of widely different schools of thought by J. A. Froude and 
A. P. Stanley, by Mr. Gladstone and Sir Francis Doyle, by 
Principal Shairp and Lord Coleridge, as well as by such 
disciples of the movement as Henry Wilberforce and Bean 
Church. They were primarily moral discourses, with little 
of theological elaboration. 'They belong/ ^ writes Dean 
Stanley ; 'not to provincial dogma, but to the literature of all 


Newman's merely intellectual reputation in the University 
had stood very high for about five Oxford generations, 
reckoning a generation at three years. It was thirteen 
years since he had been invited as quite a youth to join in 
the elite of English intellect which was to give the newly 
founded Athen^um Club its prestige at starting. But now 
the character of a prophet and leader of men was added. 
And the movement in Oxford of which he was the life and 
soul aroused all the enthusiasm of the time. 'The influence 
of his singular combination of genius and devotion/ writes 
Dean Lake, 'has had no parallel there before or since/ 1 
'Credo in Newmannum' was the creed which W. G. Ward 
first formulated, and which became general. 

The party received a severe blow, in 1836, from the 
untimely death of Hurrell Froude. But his 'Memoirs/ 
which Newman and Keble published in 18,58, created a great 
impression in Oxford, and gave fresh power to the move- 
ment. That power was viewed with suspicion by the Heads of 
Houses. Already Tractarianism was charged with Romanist 
tendencies. But as yet such charges only gave 2est to 
the party in their propaganda. The active persecution of 
a later date had not begun; and the adherents of the 
movement presented as yet a united front. Newman 
himself so he tells us had supreme confidence in his 

1 Ufe of Archbishof Tail, I 105. 


position. In January 1839 he writes to Frederick Rogers, 1 ' the 
Tracts are selling faster than they can print them.' He and 
Keble and Pusey were the triumvirate that led the move- 
ment, and Newman himself shrank from acknowledging the 
greatness of his position. But in the eyes of many he was not 
only the leader, but the others were on a totally different 
plane. Such was the feeling of W. G. Ward and his friends. 
Such is the testimony of J. A. Froude, who speaks of the 
others as ciphers and Newman as the indicating number. Let 
us, in recording this time of his supremacy at Oxford, place 
before our readers material for forming a mental picture of 
one whose personality is remembered to have been something 
far more impressive even than his writing. What is per- 
haps the most vivid description extant of his position in the 
eyes of the rising generation at Oxford was penned by the 
witness whose name has just been mentioned, J. A. Froude. 2 
'When I entered at Oxford,' writes Mr. Froude, 'John 
Henry Newman was beginning to be famous. The responsible 
authorities were watching him with anxiety; clever men 
were looking with interest and curiosity on the apparition 
among them of one of those persons of indisputable genius 
who was likely to make a mark upon his time. His appear- 
ance was striking. He was above the middle height, slight 
and spare. His head was large, his face remarkably like that 
of Julius Caesar. The forehead, the shape of the ears and 
nose were almost the same. The lines of the mouth were 
very peculiar, and I should say exactly the same. I have 
often thought of the resemblance, and believed that it extended 
to the temperament. In both there was an original force of 
character which refused to be moulded by circumstances, 
which was to make its own way, and become a power in the 
world; a clearness of intellectual perception, a disdain for 
conventionalities, a temper imperious and wilful, but along 
with it a most attaching gentleness, sweetness, singleness of 
heart and purpose. Both were formed by nature to command 
others, both had the faculty of attracting to themselves the 
passionate devotion of their friends and followers. ... It has 
been said that men of letters are either much less or much 
greater than their writings. Cleverness and the skilful use of 
other people's thoughts produce works which take us in till 
we see the authors, and then we are disenchanted. A man of 
1 Fellow of Oriel, afterwards Lord Blachford, 2 In Short Studies, vol. iv. 


genius, on the other hand, is a spring in which there is always 
more behind than flows from it. The painting or the poem 
is but a part of him inadequately realised, and his nature 
expresses itself, with equal or fuller completeness, in his life, 
his conversation, and personal presence. This was eminently 
true of Newman. Greatly as his poetry had struck me, he 
was himself all that the poetry was, and something far beyond. 
I had then never seen so impressive a person. I met him 
now and then in private; I attended his church and heard 
him preach Sunday after Sunday; he is supposed to have 
been insidious, to have led his disciples on to conclusions to 
which he designed to bring them, while his purpose was 
carefully veiled. He was, on the contrary, the most trans- 
parent of men. He told us what he believed to be true. He 
did not know where it would carry him. No one who has 
ever risen to any'great height in this world refuses to move 
till he knows where he is going. He is impelled in each step 
which he takes by a force within himself. He satisfies 
himself only that the step is a right one, and he leaves the 
rest to Providence. Newman's mind was world-wide. He 
was interested in everything which was going on in science, in 
politics, in literature. Nothing was too large for Mm, nothing 
too trivial, if it threw light upon the central question, what man 
really was, and what was his destiny. ... He could admire 
enthusiastically any greatness of action and character, how- 
ever remote the sphere of it from his own. Gurwood's 
" Despatches of the Duke of Wellington ?; came out just then, 
Newman had been reading the book, and a friend asked him 
what he thought of it. "Think?" he said, "it makes one 
burn to have been a soldier." But his own subject was the 
absorbing interest with him. * , . Keble had looked into no 
lines of thought but his own. Newman had read omnivo- 
rously; he had studied modern thought and modern life in 
all its forms, and with all its many-coloured passions. . . . 

'With us undergraduates Newman, of course, did not enter 
on such important questions, although they were in the air, 
and we talked about them among ourselves. He, when we 
met him, spoke to us about subjects of the day, of literature, 
of public persons and incidents, of everything which was 
generally interesting. He seemed always to be better in- 
formed on common topics of conversation than anyone else 
who was present. He was never condescending with us, 
never didactic or authoritative; but what he said carried con- 
viction along with it. When we were wrong, he knew why 


we were wrong, and excused our mistakes to ourselves while 
he set us right. Perhaps his supreme merit as a talker was 
that he never tried to be witty or to say striking things. 
Ironical he could be, but not ill-natured. Not a malicious 
anecdote was ever heard from him. Prosy he could not 
be. He was lightness itself the lightness of elastic strength 
and he was interesting because he never talked for talking's 
sake, but because he had something real to say. 

'Thus it was that we, who had never seen such another 
man, and to whom he appeared, perhaps, at special advantage 
in contrast with the normal college don, came to regard 
Newman with the affection of pupils (though pupils, strictly 
speaking, he had none) for an idolized master. The simplest 
word which dropped from him was treasured as if it had been 
an intellectual diamond. For hundreds of young men Credo 
in N&wmannum was the genuine symbol of faith. 7 

So far Mr. Froude; and to Newman's directly religious in- 
fluence on the University Principal Shairp has perhaps given 
the most definite and direct testimony in his study of Keble. 1 

'The movement when at its height extended its influence 
far beyond the circle of those who directly adopted its 
views. There was not, in Oxford at least, a reading man 
who was not more or less directly influenced by it. Only the 
very idle or the very frivolous were wholly proof against it. 
On all others it impressed a sobriety of conduct and a 
seriousness not usually found among large bodies of young 
men. It raised the tone of average morality in Oxford to 
a level which perhaps it had never before reached. You 
may call it overwrought and too highly strung. Perhaps 
it was. It was better, however, for young men to be so than 
to be doubters or cynics. 

' If such was the general aspect of Oxford society at that 
time, where was the centre and soul from which so mighty 
a power emanated? It lay, and had for some years lain, 
mainly in one man, a man in many ways the most remark- 
able that England had seen during this century, perhaps the 
most remarkable the English Church has possessed in any 
century John Henry Newman. The influence he had 
gained, without apparently setting himself to seek it, was 
something altogether unlike anything else in our time. A 

1 The Essay on Keble was published in a volume entitled Studies in Poetry 
and Philosophy by Principal Shairp of St. Andrews (p. 244). 


mysterious veneration had by degrees gathered round him, 
till now it was almost as though some Ambrose or Augustine 
of older ages had reappeared. He himself tells haw one day, 
when he was an undergraduate, a friend with whom he was 
walking in an Oxford street cried out eagerly, u There is 
Keble," and with what awe he looked at him. A few years 
and the same took place with regard to himself. In Oriel 
Lane light-hearted undergraduates would drop their voices 
and whisper, " There's Newman/' as with head thrust forward 
and gaze fixed as though at some vision seen only by him self , 
with swift, noiseless step he glided by. Awe fell on them for 
a moment almost as if it had been some apparition that had 
passed. . . . What were the qualities that inspired these 
feelings? There was, of course, learning and refinement. 
There was genius, not, indeed, of a philosopher, but of a 
subtle and original thinker, an unequalled edge of dialectic, 
and these all glorified by the imagination of a poet. Then 
there was the utter unworldliness ; the setting aside of all the 
things which men most prize, the tamelessness of soul which 
was ready to essay the impossible. Men felt that here was; 

" One of that small transfigured band 
Which the world cannot tame." 7 

Of the ever-memorable sermons and of the evening 
service at St. Mary's at which they were delivered, Principal 
Shairp writes as follows: 

'The centre from which his power went forth was the 
pulpit of St. Mary's, with those wonderful afternoon sermons. 
Sunday after Sunday, month by month, year by year, they 
went on, each continuing and deepening the impression the 
last had made, . . . 

'The service was very simple, no pomp, no ritualism; 
for it was characteristic of the leading men of the movement 
that they left these things to the weaker brethren. Their 
thoughts, at all events, were set on great questions which 
touched the heart of unseen things. About the service, the 
most remarkable thing was the beauty, the silver intonation, 
of Mr. Newman's voice, as he read the Lessons. It seemed 
to bring new meaning out of the familiar words. Still lingers 
in memory the tone with which he read: Bttt Jerusalem 
which is from above & free, which is the mother of us all. 
When he began to preach, a stranger was not likely to be 
much struck, especially if he had been accustomed to pulpit 
oratory of the Boanerges sort. Here was no vehemence, no 
declamation, no show of elaborated argument, so that one 


who came prepared to hear a "great Intellectual effort" was 
almost sure to go away disappointed. Indeed, I believe that 
if he had preached one of his St. Mary's sermons before a 
Scotch town congregation, they would have thought the 
preacher a " silly body. 73 The delivery had a peculiarity 
which it took a new hearer some time to get over. Each 
separate sentence, or at least each short paragraph, was spoken 
rapidly, but with great clearness of intonation; and then at 
its close there was a pause, lasting for nearly half a minute; 
then another rapidly but clearly spoken sentence, followed 
by another pause. It took some time to get over this, but, 
that once done, the wonderful charm began to dawn on you. 
The look and bearing of the preacher were as of one who 
dwelt apart, who, though he knew his age well, did not live 
in it. From the seclusion of study, and abstinence, and 
prayer ,K from habitual dwelling in the unseen, he seemed to 
come forth that one day of the week to speak to others of 
the things he had seen and known. Those who never heard 
him might fancy that his sermons would generally be about 
apostolical succession or rights of the Church or against 
Dissenters. Nothing of the kind. You might hear him 
preach for weeks without an allusion to these things. What 
there was of High Church teaching was implied rather than 
enforced. The local, the temporary, and the modern were 
ennobled by the presence of the catholic truth belonging to 
all ages that pervaded the whole. His power showed itself 
chiefly in the new and unlooked-for way in which he touched 
into life old truths, moral or spiritual, which all Christians 
acknowledge, but most have ceased to feel when he spoke 
of "Unreal Words," of the "Individuality of the Soul/ 7 of 
"The Invisible World/ 7 of a "Particular Providence"; or 
again, of "The Ventures of Faith/ 7 "Warfare the Condition 
of Victory/' "The Cross of Christ the Measure of the World/ 7 
"The Church a Home for the Lonely. 77 As he spoke, how 
the old truth became new! how it came home with a mean- 
ing never felt before! He laid his finger how gently, yet 
how powerfully! on some inner place in the hearer 7 s heart, 
and told him things about himself he had never known till 
then. Subtlest truths, which it would have taken philoso- 
phers pages of circumlocution and big words to state, were 
dropt out by the way in a sentence or two of the most trans- 
parent Saxon. What delicacy of style, yet what calm 
power! how gentle, yet how strong! how simple, yet how 
suggestive! how homely, yet how refined! . . . 

'To call these sermons eloquent would be no word for 

VOL. I. B 


them; high poems they rather were, as of an inspired singer, 
or the outpourings as of a prophet, rapt yet self-possessed. 
And the tone of voice in which they were spoken, once you 
grew accustomed to it, sounded like a fine strain of unearthly 
music. Through the silence of that high Gothic building 
the words fell on the ear like the measured drippings of 
water in some vast dim cave. After hearing these sermons 
you might come away still not believing the tenets peculiar 
to the High Church system; but you would be harder than 
most men, if you did not feel more than ever ashamed of 
coarseness, selfishness, worldliness, if you did not feel the 
things of faith brought closer to the soul.' 

Sxich were the feelings kindled even among those who 
dissented from his theology by the man who was the central 
figure in the Oxford of 1838. * Those who by early education 
and conviction were kept aloof from the peculiar tenets of 
High Churchmen' (writes Principal Shairp) ' could not but 
acknowledge the moral quickening which resulted from the 
movement, and the marvellous character of him who was the 
soul of it.' That year was the summit of Newman's life to 
which he ever wistfully looked back, a time of hope, of 
confidence, of influence, when his one inspiring ideal, to work 
for God and for religion, was satisfied, and tokens of success 
daily multiplied. The vision of the future, unclouded as yet 
by misgiving, was of a Church of England purged of heresy, 
and once more breathing the spirit of Ambrose and Augustine. 

The following lines from Aubrey de Vere's * Remi- 
niscences' give a vivid picture of Newman's appearance and 
manner at this time: i Early in the evening a singularly 
graceful figure in cap and gown glided into the room. The 
slight form and gracious address might have belonged 
either to a youthful ascetic of the middle ages or to a 
graceful high-bred lady of our own days. He was pale and 
thin almost to emaciation, swift of pace, but when not 
walking intensely still, with a voice sweet and pathetic, and 
so distinct that you could count each vowel and consonant in 
every word. When touching on subjects which interested 
him much, he used gestures rapid and decisive, though not 

In April 1839, Newman, still pursuing his patristic studies, 
began the systematic reading of the Monophysite controversy. 


For the first time there came a misgiving as to the Anglican 
position a cloud no bigger than a man's hand, the fore- 
runner of storm and shipwreck. While, like the Anglicans, 
the Monophysites took their stand on antiquity, their claim 
was, he saw, disallowed by the Church, which, at the instiga- 
tion of Pope Leo, invented a new formula ('in two natures') 
at Chalcedon to exclude them. He was struck, as he writes 
to Rogers, by 'the great power of the Pope, as great as he 
claims now almost.' He could not adjust the story of the 
Monophysites to the principles of the Via Media. In 
September Robert Williams put into his hands Wiseman's 
article in the Dublin Review on the 'Schism of the Donatists.' 
This deepened the impression made by the Monophysite 
story. It brought home to him a point of view which shook 
his faith in his own position. St. Augustine had replied to the 
claim of the Donatists to be really Catholics, on the ground 
that they adhered to antiquity, by the words securus judicat 
orbis terrarum. The mere appeal to antiquity had been dis- 
allowed. For a religious society to belong to the Universal 
Church it was necessary that that Church should recognise 
its claim. The parallel of the Arian, period, on which Newman 
had relied, was gradually recognised by him not really to 
cover the facts of the Anglican position. 

It so happened that these impressions came at a time 
when a new impulse towards Rome had just been brought 
to bear on the movement and on Newman's own mind. 
W. G. Ward and Frederick Oakeley had joined the Tractarian 
party in a spirit of avowed admiration for Rome. Ward's 
friend, Arthur Stanley, for a brief space shared in the new 
Roman campaign, which was directed against the compara- 
tively moderate Anglicanism of Mr. Palmer and even of 
Dr. Pusey. Frederick Faber was another whose influence 
was in the same direction. The new party was characterised 
by great enthusiasm, a disposition to startle the older and 
more moderate spirits, a recklessness of consequences, a 
certain love of paradox. Their trust in Newman was abso- 
lute. And as long as he himself was confident in his own 
position they were not likely to break loose. It was when 
Newman's own mind was touched with doubt and Ms answers 
to arguments advanced by the Romanising school lacked 

D 2 


confidence, that they waxed bolder and more positive. A 
new sense of danger, of uncertainty, of disunion, was gradually 
felt in the ranks of the Tractarians. 

Newman at first welcomed Ward's accession to the move- 
ment, which came in 1838 after the publication of Froude's 
'Remains. 5 'Ward is a very important accession/ Newman 
had written to Bowden. 'He is a man I know very little of, 
but whom I can't help liking very much/ After he had 
joined the Tract party Ward rapidly became intimate with 
Newman, and saw him almost daily, losing no opportunity 
of pressing the Roman argument and disparaging the purely 
Anglican view of the movement. Newman had not long 
before read Manzoni's 'Promessi Sposi.' This picture of 
'Romanism' in action had deeply impressed him. 'The 
Capuchin in. the "Promessi Sposi," ' he writes to Rogers, ( has 
stuck in my heart like a dart, I have never got over him/ 
And now in September 1839 came, as I have said, the 
Monophysite and Donatist histories, which suddenly touched 
him with real misgiving as to the theory which a year earlier 
he had taught with supreme confidence, 

'Since I wrote to you/ he writes to Rogers on Sep- 
tember 22, 'I have had the first real hit from Romanism 
which has happened to me, Robert Williams, who has 
been passing through, directed ray attention to Dr. Wise- 
man's article in the new Dublin. I must confess it has 
given me a stomachache. You see the whole history of the 
Monophysites has been a sort of alterative. And now comes 
this dose at the end of it. It does certainly come upon one 
that we are not at the bottom of things. At this moment we 
have sprung a leak; and the worst of it is that those sharp 
fellows, Ward, Stanley, and Co. will not let one go to 
sleep upon it. Curavimus Babylonem et non esl cur aid was an 
awkward omen. I have not said so much to anyone. 

'I seriously think this a most uncomfortable article on 
every account, though of course it is "ex parte."* l 

The article worked on him so rapidly that in the following 
month he confided to Henry Wilberforce his suspicion that 
in the end he might possibly find it his duty to join the 
Roman Catholic Church, 2 

1 Letters, ii. 286. a ,See Dublin Review, April 1869, p. 327. 


Newman really never recovered from the blow which had 
thus been dealt him. At the moment when hope was highest 
he had received a serious wound; that it was mortal he did 
not think. But it destroyed the sense of triumph. It de- 
stroyed the confidence which had given his leadership such 
power. The isolation of the English Church from the rest of 
the Church Catholic a commonplace of the controversy 
had suddenly got hold of him. It had failed to affect him 
earlier because it was in the writings of the Catholic contro- 
versialists mixed up with untenable positions. The actual 
anomalies presented by history in the fourth century were 
not, he felt, allowed for by the Roman Catholics. Yet the 
argument from anomalies might, he now realised, be pressed 
too far. The precedent of the fourth century, on which he 
had taken his stand, might have justified an Anglican in the 
sixteenth century, before sides were clearly taken in the con- 
troversy between Catholic and Protestant. It could not in 
the nineteenth. He never returned to the old Via Media. He 
could not answer Ward and his friends with the decision 
which would have reassured them. They were quick to see 
this. They pressed the Roman view more and more openly. 
Pusey and the older party of the movement were distressed 
and uncomfortable. They failed to obtain from Newman a 
clear disavowal of the views of Ward and Oakeley. A sense 
of discomfort and uncertainty arose which changed the 
character of the movement and clouded its prospects. 

In point of fact Newman's old anti-Roman position was 
broken. He did not see his way clearly, and therefore could 
not speak confidently. He now admitted that English 
Roman Catholics belonged to the Church Catholic. He no 
longer spoke of them as in schism. He gradually thought 
out a new basis for his position. He maintained that the life 
within the Church of England was a testimony to its being a 
living branch of the Church as the Roman Church was also 
a branch. If the note of Catholicity was not clear in the 
Church of England, she had clearly the note of Life and the 
note of Sanctity. 1 c We could not be as if we had never 
been a church. We were Samaria/ so he put it a little later, 
in 1841. He developed his new position in an article in 

1 Apologia, pp. 150-52. 


the British Critic in 1840, and in the discourses afterwards 
entitled 'Sermons on Subjects of the Day/ But he could 
not satisfactorily answer the difficulty Wiseman's article 
had raised. 'The only vulnerable point we have/ he wrote 
to Rogers in November 1840, is the penitus toto divisos orbe. 
It is the heel of Achilles. Yet a man must be a good shot 
to hit it/ He seemed to dread Rome now. 'It is a bad 
thing/ he writes to Bowden, t stirring one's sympathies 
towards Rome.' And again: 'Were there Sanctity among 
the Roman Catholics they would indeed be formidable/" l 
Oxford only gradually became conscious of the change. For 
one so long eager and confident in his attacks on Rome to 
hesitate and be on the defensive, for him to explain and 
apologise, meant a profound change, an immense loss in 
effective leadership. But he maintained still in his letters 
the attitude of a vigorous champion of the Anglican Church, 
though Rome had frightened him. Gladstone's book on 
Church and State he welcomed at this time, 'Doctrinaire 
and somewhat self-confident/ he writes, but nevertheless 'it 
will do good. Somehow there is great earnestness, but a 
want of amiableness about him/ 

In one for whom subconscious workings of the mind went 
for so much, their symptoms may be noted. We see in his 
letters of 1840 several references to the prospect of adherents 
of the movement going to Rome. But further, in a letter of 
February 25, 1840, to his sister Mrs. John Mozley, we fmd 
for the first time a thought which must have strongly sup- 
plemented the effect of Dr. Wiseman's article namely, that 
the Church of Rome alone would be found strong enough to 
stem the various infidel currents of the time. 

'I begin to have serious apprehensions/ he wrote, 'lest any 
religious body is strong enough, to withstand the league of evil 
but the Roman Church. At the end of the first millenary it 
withstood the fury of Satan, and now the end of the second is 
drawing on. Certainly the way that good principles have shot 
up is wonderful; but I am not clear that they are not tending 
to Rome not from any necessity in the principles themselves, 
but from the much greater proximity between Rome and us 
than between infidelity and us, and that in a time of trouble 
we naturally look about for allies/ 2 

1 Letters, ii 314-15. 2 Ibid. ii. 300. 


In the village of Littlemore, in his parish of St. Mary's, 
he had as early as 1829 interested himself specially, and had 
given catechetical instructions there on Sunday evenings. In 
1836 he had built a chapel there. He regarded that year as 
a landmark 1 in the providential course of his life. Now in 
1840 he further developed his connection with Littlemore, 
with a dim presage that it might be his future home. 

' We have bought nine or ten acres of ground at Little- 
more/ he writes to his sister, the field between the chapel 
and Barnes's, and so be it in due time shall erect a monastic 
house upon it. This may lead ultimately to niy resigning 
my fellowship. But these are visions as yet.' 

The change in the character of the movement became 
more and more apparent. The Church of England had been 
the central object of interest from 1833 to 1838. The 
c Church of Rome' had been only a feature in the historical 
controversy which defined her position. By 1841 the pro- 
portions were reversed. The presumption was no longer 
on the Anglican side it was on the Roman. England had 
to justify a position at first sight untenable. In this new 
condition of things it was more than ever necessary to vindi- 
cate a Catholic interpretation for the Anglican formularies. 
The stronger the argument against the Anglicans from their 
actual separation, the more necessary it was to show that 
they were not committed to the views of a Protestant sect, 
and that they still interpreted all formularies enjoined in 
the Church of England in the sixteenth century, 'according 
to the sense of the Catholic Church.' 2 To establish this 
principle in the case of the Thirty-nine Articles was the 

1 The following note is attached by Newman to a packet of letters of 1836: 
* March 1836 is a cardinal point of time. It gathers about it, more or less 
closely, the following events: 

1. Froude's death. ^ 

2. My mother's death and my sister's marriage. 

3. My knowing and using the Breviary. 

4. First connexion with the British Critic. 


5. The tracts becoming treatises. 

6. Start of the "Library of the Fathers." 

7. Theological Society. 

8. My writing against the Church of Rome. 

9. Littlemore Chapel. 
1 Letters, ii. 336. 

A new scene 
gradually opened.* 


object of the famous Tract 90, published in February 1841. 
If this were not done promptly Newman foresaw that the 
new adherents of the movement would go over to the Roman 
Church. The Articles (he noted in the Tract), while censur- 
ing popular corruptions in the Church of Rome, admitted 
those Catholic doctrines of which they were corruptions. 
They censured, not the authoritative and obligatory state- 
ments of that Church, but the prevalent teaching of its 
officials. Moreover, as they were drawn up before the 
Council of Trent, they could not have been directed against 
the decrees of that Council. 

Newman had gone to history. He had realised that the 
Articles were a compromise, and that their framers had hoped 
to get the Catholic party to subscribe them in spite of their 
Protestant rhetoric. He claimed a like liberty of interpre- 
tation now, as the Franciscan, Santa Clara, had done in 
Charles I.'s reign. But such a claim amazed the Oxford of 
1841, and Newman was charged with dishonest quibbling, a 
charge which remained in the public mind for many years. 

The first person to insist on this view of it was Mr. Tait 
(the future Archbishop), then Fellow and Tutor of Balliol, 
who with three other tutors formally protested against the 
Tract. This step was followed a week later by its official 
censure by the Hebdomadal Board of the Heads of Houses. 
Dean Stanley's biographer has left a graphic account of the 
kindling of the flame which spread so rapidly: 

'On the morning of the 27th of February, Ward burst 
excitedly into Tait's rooms. "Here/' he cried, "is some- 
thing worth reading/ 7 and threw No. 90 on the table. Tait 
described to Stanley how he "sate, half-asleep/ 3 over the 
pamphlet, "rather disturbed from time to time by sentences 
about ' working in chains/ and 'stammering lips/" till, on 
turning over the pages, he was suddenly awakened by light- 
ing on the commentary on the Twenty-second Article. He 
immediately rushed to Ward's rooms to know whether he 
had rightly understood it; and from that moment the sensa- 
tion began. He showed No. 90 to one person after another; 
the excitement increased, but still unknown to Newman; 
and, on the second Sunday after the Tract had appeared, 
Ward, who had predicted that it would rouse a tumult, was 
dining with Newman, and Newman said, "You see, Ward, you 


are a false prophet.'' When Ward returned that night to 
Balliol, he found that the Protest of the Four Tutors was 
already prepared. It appeared the next day; by the end of 
the week came down, like a clap of thunder, the Protest of 
the Heads, and instantly the silence was broken by its being 
reverberated through every paper in the country.' l 

The general excitement alarmed the Church authorities. 
The Bishop of Oxford sent a formal message objecting to the 
Tract and advising the suspension of the series of ' Tracts 
for the Times/ Newman published a second edition of 
the Tract with additions and changes designed to meet the 
criticisms it had received, writing at the same time to the 
Bishop expressing his willingness to discontinue the Tracts. 

'The affair of No. 90,' writes Newman, 'was a far greater 
crisis than March 1836, and opened an entirely different 
scene.' Henceforth the members of the party were suspect 
of Romanism, and of dishonesty in holding their preferments 
in the Church of England. The party whose chiefs had 
represented practically the whole University in the Protest 
of 1836 against Dr. Hampden's appointment, and had been 
regarded as the champions of Anglican orthodoxy, was now 
under a cloud in University and Church alike. The change 
in the general atmosphere in the University itself was thus 
described in after years by the late Lord Coleridge: 

'Four tutors protested, six doctors suspended. Heb- 
domadal Boards censured, deans of colleges changed the 
dinner hour, so as to make the hearing of Newman's sermon 
and a dinner in Hall incompatible transactions. This 
seemed then it seems now miserably small. It failed, of 
course; such proceedings always fail. The influence so 
fought with naturally widened and strengthened. There was 
imparted to an attendance at St. Mary's that slight flavour of 
insubordination which rendered such attendance attractive 
to many, to some at any rate, who might otherwise have 
stayed away. In 1839 the afternoon congregation at St. 
Mary's was, for a small Oxford parish, undoubtedly large 
probably two or three times the whole population of the 
parish; but by 1842 it had become as remarkable a con- 
gregation as I should think was ever gathered together to hear 
regularly a single preacher. There was scarcely a man of 
1 Life of Stanley, i. 292. 


note in the University, old or young, who did not, during the 
last two or three years of Newman's incumbency, habitually 
attend the service and listen to the sermons. One Dean 
certainly, who had changed the time of his College dinner 
to prevent others going, constantly went himself; and the 
outward interest in the teaching was but one symptom of 
the deep and abiding influence which Cardinal Newman 
exercised. 1 

The Bishops were not satisfied with the suspension of the 
Tracts. One after another they issued Charges against 
them, The Charges emphasised the Protestant character 
of the Church of England. Then came the establishment of 
the avowedly Protestant English bishopric in Jerusalem, the 
Bishop being consecrated by the English Primate with the 
express object of ruling the Lutheran and Calvinistic con- 
gregations of the East. 

Besides the action of the ecclesiastical authorities, there 
occurred at this time another event in the University which 
reminded the party that it was regarded with suspicion in 
Oxford itself. Mr. Isaac Williams, who was obviously the 
best qualified candidate for the Professorship of Poetry left 
vacant by Keble's resignation, was in January 1842 defeated, 
unmistakably on the ground of Ms being a Puseyite, though 
he was by no means in sympathy with the Romanising wing 
of the party. Then again in May 1843 -D r - Pusey preached 
a sermon on the Eucharist. He went not a step beyond the 
recognised Anglican divines, and yet was forthwith suspended 
for two years from preaching, by authority of the Vice- 
Chancellor. Signs were accumulating on every side that 
Oxford and the Church of England regarded Tractarianism 
as necessarily Roman, whether it took the professedly 
Anglican colour it wore in Pusey or the avowedly Roman 
hue imparted to it in Mr. Ward's writings and conversation. 
Newman's doubts perforce revived. How, he asked himself, 
could a position be normal to the Church of England which 
its authoritative organs energetically repudiated? Newman's 
position at Oxford became more and more difficult, and his 
visits to Littlemore grew longer and longer. Knowing fully 

1 See Lord Coleridge's tribute 'In Memoriam, 1 to Principal Shairp, pub- 
lished in Professor Knight's volume, Principal Shairfc and his Friends* 


the weight of his lightest word, filled with a painful sense of 
responsibility, speech became almost impossible for him. 
He had led the party on for years in supreme confidence 
that he was strengthening the Anglican Church against 
Rome. He had denounced Rome with energy in his writings. 
Now, in his uncertainty, he could neither urge his followers 
to advance towards Rome nor keep back those who were 
actually moving Romewards. For himself, external events 
were slowly but surely pressing him onwards. For others he 
declined all responsibility. 'His parochial sermons assumed 
an uneasy tone which perplexed his followers/ writes Principal 
Shairp. To remain an Anglican with his views appeared to 
him more and more a paradox. The defence of the position 
in Oxford he left to those to whom paradox was more 
congenial, and W. G. Ward became gradually more and 
more active and outspoken. 1 

Before he had taken the final step Newman thus referred to 
the effect on Mm of the action of the ecclesiastical authorities 
at this time: 

'Many a man might have held an abstract theory about 
the Catholic Church to which it was difficult to adjust the 
Anglican, might have admitted a suspicion or even painful 
doubt about the latter, yet never have been impelled onwards 
had our rulers preserved the quiescence of former years; but 
it is the corroboration of a great living and energetic hetero- 
doxy that realises and makes such doubts practical. It has 
been the recent speeches and acts of authorities who had 
been so long tolerant of Protestant error, which has given to 
enquiry and to theory its force and edge. 7 

On April 19, 1842, he migrated to his cottage at Little- 
more for good. Henceforth it was his headquarters, visits to 
Oriel being occasional. He was at Littlemore for some days 
quite alone, without friend or servant. He had made his 
determination and begun his preparations in February. It 
is clear that he regarded it as a significant step. The move- 
ment had never been more influential, and Tract 90 had an 
immense sale. But its success was not for him. He writes 
thus to Mrs. J. Mozley: 

1 Bean Bradley writes of this time that W. G. Ward * succeeded Newman in 
Oxford as the acknowledged leader of the party' (see his A. P. Stanley, p. 65). 


* Feb. 6, 42. 

'I am going up to Littlemore and my books are all in 
motion part gone, the rest in a day or two. It makes me 
very downcast. It is such a nuisance taking steps. But for 
years three lines of Horace have been in my ears: 

'"Lusisti satis, edisti satis atque bibisti: 
Tempus abire tibi est: ne potum largius aequo 
Rideat et pulset lasciva decentlus aetas." 

' Of Tract 90 12,500 copies have been sold and a 3rd 
edition is printed. An American clergyman who was here 
lately told me he saw it in every house. 3 

In 1843 Newman wrote to a friend definitely that he 
believed the Roman Catholic Church to be the Church 
of the Apostles. England was in schism, and such graces 
as were apparent in the Anglican Communion were c extra- 
ordinary and from the overflowing of the Divine dispensa- 
tion 7 ('Apologia,' p. 208). He resigned the vicarage of St. 
Mary's on September 18. In the same year in the pages 
of the Conservative Journal he retracted all his attacks on 
the Church of Rome. The inevitable sequel was in sight for 
others as well as for himself the parting from so many 
Oxford friends and disciples who had for years hung on his 
every word, On September 25 he preached at Littlemore his 
sermon on the Parting of Friends. It was the last public scene 
of the silent tragedy which was being enacted. He told in 
that sermon, clearly for those who understood, how he him- 
self had found the Church of his birth and of his early 
affections wanting; how he was torn asunder between the 
claims of those he must leave behind him and those who 
would follow him; that he could speak to his friends no 
more from that pulpit, but could only commit them to God 
and bid them strive to do His will. His voice broke (so 
the tradition runs) and his words were interrupted by the 
sobs of his hearers as he said his last words of farewell 

From this time onwards he lived in seclusion at Little- 
more with a group of his younger disciples, in whose company 
he led a life of quasi-monastic discipline. The Via Media 
as an intellectual theory was finally relinquished. He clung 
to the argument supplied by the presence of life and sanctity 


within the Church of England. And it was this note of 
some continuity between the existing Church of England 
and that of happier days which inspired the Lives of the 
English Saints' which he now began to edit. Sanctity had 
been, he maintained, throughout Church history the great 
antidote to corruption. His last despairing hope for the 
Church of England seems to have been that this might be 
so again, and that, as with the human body, intense vitality 
might remedy functional disorder and restore normal health. 
To arouse interest in the English saints of old would stimu- 
late religious zeal within the Church of England. It became 
plain, however, that the tone of the Lives was not in harmony 
with the Anglicanism of the time. The Life of St. Stephen 
Harding was held by persons of weight to be 'of a character 
inconsistent even with its proceeding from an Anglican pub- 
lisher.' Newman retired from the editorship after two numbers 
had been published, though many others of the Lives were 
already in an advanced state of preparation and made their 
appearance in due course. That the Church of England 
could not now stand the biographies of those who were on 
Catholic principles its own saints was one more significant 
fact added to the number that had by now well-nigh crushed 


The change of Communion was now really only a matter 
of time. And the terrible secret was whispered through 
Oxford. Gradually it dawned on those who had been long- 
ing to hear the loved voice again, who had been chafing 
at his silence without realising what it portended, that for 
Oxford he had ceased for ever to speak. Perhaps men had 
never before fully realised all that those sermons had been to 


'How vividly, 7 writes Principal Shairp, 'comes back the 
remembrance of the aching blank, the awful pause, which 
fell on Oxford when that voice had ceased, and we knew 
that we should hear it no more. It was as when, to one 
kneeling by night, in the silence of some vast cathedral, the 
great bell tolling solemnly overhead has suddenly gone still. 
To many, no doubt, the pause was not of long continuance. 
Soon they began to look this way and that for new teachers, 
and to rush vehemently to the opposite extremes of thought. 


But there were those who could not so lightly forget. 
All the more these withdrew into themselves. On Sunday 
forenoons and evenings, in the retirement of their rooms, 
the printed words of those marvellous sermons would 
thrill them till they wept "abundant and most sweet 
tears." Since then many voices of powerful teachers they 
may have heard, but none that ever penetrated the soul 
like his. 7 



IN Oxford itself, events hurried on to a climax. Left without 
the restraining hand of Newman, W. G. Ward and his friends 
emphasised the most Roman interpretation of the Movement, 
and the paradox soon became intolerable. In the summer 
of 1844, W. G. Ward published his ' Ideal of a Christian 
Church/ in which he claimed to remain a clergyman of the 
Church of England while holding 'the whole cycle of Roman 
doctrine.' The book was condemned at the famous meeting 
of Convocation on February 13, 1845, an< i ^s author 
deprived of his degrees. A vote of censure on Tract 90 
was proposed on the same occasion, but defeated by the 
veto of the two proctors, personal friends of Newman 
Mr. Guillemard and Mr. R. W. Church. The Movement was 
already mortally wounded by Newman's retirement, and this 
event was, in Dean Stanley's words, its 'closing scene. 3 Up 
to then, although blow after blow had been struck at the 
party the episcopal charges against the Tracts, the institution 
of the Jerusalem Bishopric, the censure of Pusey's sermon on 
the Holy Eucharist, no disaster had been quite irretrievable. 
Newman had indeed prepared his friends for his coming 
defection from Anglicanism, yet the more sanguine hoped 
against hope that the prospect might change, that the Church 
of England might keep him, and that the cause of the Move- 
ment might still triumph. Now the party was finally defeated. 
'It was more than a defeat,' writes Dean Church, 'it was a 
rout in which they were driven headlong from the field.' 
Newman remained absolutely impassive. 'That silence, 7 
writes the same witness, 'was awful and ominous.' 

We know from the 'Apologia' what he was going through 


at this time, his steadily growing conviction that he ought to 
join the Church of Rome, his fear lest he might in so mo- 
mentous a step be acting on a view which would subsequently 
change. I have found one letter, and one only, in which he 
pours out his whole heart on the subject. It was written to 
Henry Wilberforce in the spring of 1845, after reading the 
autobiography of his old friend, Blanco White, who had 
ceased to be a Christian before he died. The letter gives a 
vivid picture not only of Newman's mind at the moment, but 
of his thoughts concerning his own past history. 

' Littlemore, Dom, V post Pasch. Ap. 27, 1845. 

' Blanco White's autobiography, which is just published, 
is the most dismal possible work I ever saw. He dies a Pan- 
theist denying that there is an Ultramundane God, apparently 
denying a particular Providence, doubting, to say the least, 
the personal immortality of the soul, meditating from Marcus 
Antoninus, and considering that St. Paul's Epistles are taken 
from the Stoic philosophy. As to Christianity he seems 
thoroughly to agree with Strauss, and rejects the Gospels as 
historical documents. Yet his Biographer actually calls him 
a Confessor Confessor to what? Not to any opinion, any 
belief whatever, but to the search after truth, ever wandering 
about and changing, and therefore great to the end of his life? 
Can there be a greater paradox than this? But what a view 
does it give one of the Unitarians and id genus omne! They 
really do think it is no harm whatever being an Atheist, so 
that you are sincerely so, and do not cut people's throats and 
pick their pockets. Blanco White gives up religion (by name) 
altogether. He says that Christianity is not a religion, and 
that this is one of the great mistakes which has led to 
corruptions. It has no ^oWa or worship or rather as St. 
James says, its fy^o-Kewx is visiting the fatherless and widows, 
i.e. moral duties. I have heard him say this, but was shallow 
enough not to see its drift. Yet it is remarkable he should 
run into Pantheism which I have said in the "Arians" is the 
legitimate consequence of giving up our Lord's Divinity and 
about which I have warned people since from time to time 
very earnestly. 

' Blanco White's book then shows more and more that 
one knows the lie of the country. It is an additional 
testimony to the fact that to be consistent one must believe 
more or less than we are accustomed to believe. Of course it 
may be said that one ought not to attempt to be consistent. 


which is systematizing but to do each duty by itself as it 
comes, without putting things together, or saying that two 
and two make four. Well, I will not debate this, but when 
a person feels that he cannot stand where he is, and has 
dreadful feelings lest he should be suffered to go back, if he 
will not go forward, such a case as Blanco White's increases 
those fears. For years I have an increasing intellectual con- 
viction that there is no medium between Pantheism and the 
Church of Rome. If intellect were to settle the matter, I 
should not be now where I am. But other considerations 
come in, and distress me. Here is Blanco White sincere and 
honest. He gives up his country, and then his second home, 
Spain, Oxford, Whately's family, all for an idea of truth, 
or rather for liberty of thought. True, I think a great deal of 
morbid restlessness was mixed with his sincerity, an inability 
to keep still in one place, a readiness to take offence and to 
be disgusted, an unusual irritability, and a fear of not being 
independent, and other bad feelings. But then the thought 
forcibly comes upon one, Why may not the case be the same 
with me? I see Blanco White going wrong yet sincere 
Arnold going wrong yet sincere. They are no puzzle to me; 
I can put my finger on this or that fault in their character and 
say, Here was the fault. But they did not know the fault, and 
so it comes upon me, How do I know that I too have not my 
weak points which occasion me to think as I think. How 
can I be sure I have not committed sins which bring this 
unsettled state of mind on me as a judgment? This is what 
is so very harassing, as you may suppose. 

'Blanco White's book has tried me in another way. I 
am nearly the only person he speaks with affection of in it 
among his English friends at least he says more about me 
than anyone else. ... It seems as if people were just now 
beginning to praise me when I am going. It seems an omen 
of my going that they praise me. Their praises are vale- 
dictions, funeral orations. Rogers, James Mozley, and now 
Blanco White. The truth is I have had so little praise that 
I do not understand it, and my feelings have been a mixture 
of bitter and sweet such as I cannot describe. I do not think 
it raises feelings of elation as to what I am at least Blanco 
White has not, because he speaks of what is gone and over; 
it hardly seems I that he speaks of I, this old dry chip who 
am worthless, but of a past I. No one has spoken well of me. 
My friends who have had means of knowing me have spoken 
against me, . . . Others have kept silent in my greatest 
trouble. The mass of men in Oxford who knew me a little 


have shown a coldness and suspicion which I did not deserve. 
In the affair of No, 90 few indeed showed me any sympathy, 
or gave me the least reason to believe that I was at all in 
their hearts. I have not thought of all this, indeed it comes to 
me now as a new thought by the contrast of what Blanco White 
says of me, which is light showing the previous darkness. I 
say to myself, Is it possible I was this? and then a second 
set of feelings succeeds. It is over my spring, my summer, 
are over, and what has come of it? It seems Blanco White 
thought so and so of me, others then I suppose thought in 
a degree the same; but what has come of it? ... and now 
my prime of life is past and I am nothing. What has often 
seemed mysterious to me has been that, whereas my Ipyor 
seems to be direction or the oversight of young men, I have 
all along been so wonderfully kept out of that occupation. 
And I get intellectually (not morally) fidgetted at the 
mystery, and think what ray influence would have been in 
anything like station, when it has been what it is among 
people who never saw me. And now it is all gone and over, 
and there is no redress, no returning, and I say with Job, "O 
that it were with me as in years past, when the candle of the 
Lord shone on me." And yet, carissime, I don't think any- 
thing of ambition or longing is mixed with these feelings, as 
far as I can tell. I am so desperately fond of my own ease, 
like an old bachelor, that having duties, being in oflice, &c., 
is an idea insupportable to me. Rather I think of it in the 
way of justice, and with a sort of tenderness to my former 
self, now no more. 

'How dreadful it is, to have to act on great matters so 
much in the dark yet I, who have preached so much on the 
duty of following in the night whenever God may call, am 
the last person who have a right to complain.' 

I think this letter tells us of a mind really made up. 
Old reasons for hesitation remain, but their force is nearly 

Newman himself has told us that he was already on the 
death-bed of his Anglican life; and we may perhaps continue 
the metaphor by saying that by the summer of 1845 he had 
reached the end of the death-struggle. The rest was the 
peaceful awaiting of the final deliverance. He was between 
two lives. His Anglican life was over; his life in the Catholic 
Church had not begun. His connection with Oxford affairs 
and with the Movement was at an end. Of Oxford men 


only intimate friends now saw him. He had begun to write 
his work on the 'Development of Christian Doctrine' in the 
previous autumn. It soon absorbed his whole mind, and he 
resolved to complete it before finally effecting the change 
of Communion. He made no plans for the future* He 
lived externally as one lives from day to day in the sick 
chamber passing an uneventful existence, seeing a few 
familiar friends, and saying his prayers. Both Anglican 
friends and the Catholics at Oscott were prepared to receive 
any day the news of his departure. But the death-bed, 
as often happens in the literal passing of a life, was so 
unexpectedly prolonged as to try the patience of onlookers. 

Dr. Wiseman's eagerness to know more of the prospect 
was especially keen. He had with him at Oscott, as a theo- 
logical student, Bernard Smith, 1 a recent convert, formerly 
rector of Leadenham, an old friend and quondam curate of 
Newman. Mr. Smith consented to pay Newman a visit at 
Littlemore to ascertain how matters really stood. His visit 
was on June 26. Newman received him coldly at first, and 
left him to the care of the rest of the Littlemore community. 
Later on he reappeared and asked Mr. Smith to remain for 
dinner. The guest from Oscott was on the look-out for the 
smallest sign of his intentions from one who was apt, as Dean 
Stanley has said, 'like the slave of Midas to whisper his secret 
to the reeds/ And a sign came slight but unmistakable. 
At dinner Newman was attired in grey trousers which to 
Bernard Smith, who knew his punctiliousness in matters of 
dress, was conclusive evidence that he no longer regarded 
himself as a clergyman. Mr, Smith returned to Oscott and 
reported that the end was near. 2 

Among Newman's Anglican friends, too, there was first 
an interval of suspense, and then they witnessed definite 
signs of the great changes which were at hand. 

'There was a pause/ says Dean Church* 'It was no 
secret what was coming. But men lingered. It was not till 
the summer that the first drops of the storm began to fall. 
Then, through the autumn and the next year, friends whose 

1 Afterwards Canon of Southwark and vicar of Great Marlow. 

2 This incident and one or two which follow have been already related by the 
present writer in the Life and Times of Cardinal Wiseman. 


names and forms were familiar in Oxford one by one dis- 
appeared and were lost to it. Fellowships, livings, curacies, 
intended careers were given up. Mr. Ward went. Mr. Capes, 
who had long followed Mr. Ward's line and had spent his 
private means to build a church near Bridgewater, went 
also, Mr. Oakeley resigned Margaret Chapel and went. 
Mr. Ambrose St. John, Mr. Coffin, Mr. Dalgairns, Mr. Faber, 
Mr. T. Meyrick, Mr. Albany Christie, Mr. R. Simpson of 
Oriel, were received in various places and various ways; 
and in the next year Mr. J. S. Northcote, Mr. J. B. Morris, 
Mr. G. Ryder, Mr. David Lewis.' 1 'We sat glumly at 
our breakfasts every morning/ adds the same writer else- 
where, 'and then someone came in with news of something 
disagreeable someone gone, someone sure to go. J 

When the summer of 1845 brought the first group of 
conversions, three months were yet to run before the great 
leader moved. I find in Newman's private diary the bare 
record of events at an uneventful period, but friends have left 
us materials for some picture of the time. 

Living with him constantly at Littlemore were his dear 
friends Ambrose St. John, J. B. Dalgairns, Richard Stanton, 
and E. S. Bowles; while Albany Christie (afterwards the 
well-known Jesuit) and John Walker (afterwards Canon 
Walker) were frequent visitors. The inmates of the house 
at Littlemore were leading a life of the utmost self-denial 
and simplicity. Divine office was recited daily. There were 
two meals in the day breakfast, consisting of tea and bread 

1 Oxford Movement^ p. 341. These names nearly all became well known in 
the Roman Catholic Church as time went on. Robert Coffin became Superior of 
the Redemptorists at Clapham and afterwards Bishop of Southwark. Frederick 
Faber and John Bernard Dalgairns were famous as writers and preachers at the 
London Oratory, of which Father Faber was the Superior. Frederick Oakeley 
was a Canon of Westminster and Missionary Rector at Islington, and became a 
popular writer among Roman Catholics. Mr, Meyrick joined the Society of 
Jesus. Mr. Lewis became well known by his Life of St. Theresa. Ambrose St. 
John was Newman's f-dus Achates, whose name will ever live in the concluding 
paragraphs of the Apologia. J. S. Northcote became President of Oscott and 
Provost of Birmingham. George Dudley Ryder was the father of Dr, Ignatius 
Ryder ,, who succeeded Newman as Superior of the Birmingham Oratory, and of 
Sir George Lisle Ryder. Of Richard Simpson's career as the colleague of Sir 
John Acton in the liberal Catholic campaign carried on, in the pages of the Ram- 
bler and Home and Foreign Review, and of Mr. Frederick Capes' work as editor 
of the Rambler, some account will be given in the present work. 


and butter taken standing up, and dinner. In Lent no meat 
was eaten. The rule of the community prescribed silence 
for half the day. 1 Reading, writing, and praying were the 
occupations of the morning; and later Newman would often 
take his disciples for a walk. 

Then he was his old fascinating self. While walking so 
fast that his companions could hardly keep pace with him, he 
conversed on all subjects except the one which was most 
anxiously pressing on him. To Ambrose St. John alone he 
spoke in secret of that all-absorbing topic. In public his 
conversation was of current politics, of literature, and still 
more of early Oxford memories, of Keble, Hawkins, Blanco 
White. Whately was a favourite theme. He and other old 
friends, whose intimacy belonged to the past, were held in the 
affectionate grasp of that clinging memory. After dinner, 
again, Newman conversed with the others for a short time. 
The rest of the day he was working in the library or in his 

He went into Oxford occasionally to visit Pusey. Oakeley 
came to see him now and again from Rose Hill, where he was 
often the guest of W. G. Ward, who had taken a cottage there 
after his marriage. R. W. Church, W. J. Copeland, Mark 
Pattison, W. Palmer, and other friends would call or dine; 
but even such i events' took place but once or so in the 
week. It was at this time that he sat for the well-known 
picture by Richmond, visiting London at intervals for the 

For his Anglican friends these interviews were the leave- 
takings of a death-bed. Their paths were to divide, and if 
intercourse were ever renewed it would be as though in 
another world, with relations totally changed. 

On July 7 his sister Jemima Mrs. John Mozley came 
with her husband to stay at a cottage close by him and 
remained a fortnight, and Newman walked or dined with 
her almost daily. 

A little note to St. John on the day after her departure 
seems to bring before us the peaceful atmosphere and homely 
details of his life at Littlemore during those months: 

1 These and subsequent particulars were given me by the late Father Stan- 
ton of the London Oratory, one of the Littlemore community, 


'Littlemore; July 18, 1845. 

' Carissime, Since you stop longer at Norwood, we send 
your letters on. My sister was very sensible of your kindness 
in the matter of the shoulder of lamb and the nosegay, but 
there was no way of saying it. We are doomed to know but 
a few people here on earth; and no one can be known in a 
moment else had you the opportunity, you would know what 
a very sweet gentle person she is. They left me yesterday 
for Ogle's. 

'There is a sort of consensus against your favourite tin 
canister. Dalgairns is not the least loud in his reprobation 
of its top. 

f We have a most splendid show of lilies no wonder, for 
Bowles has just told us it has been discovered at home that 
he has robbed his mother's garden of every bulb; so they are 
to go back in the autumn. He has cut one off stalk and all, 
and it stands in the hall breathing sweetness and looking 

'I suppose I shall see Dodsworth in town to-morrow. 
I am at Sir W. Ross's at 2, and at n at Richmond's on 
Monday; then I hope to return. 

'Ever yours affectionately, 

J, H. N.' 

All this time the f Essay on the Development of Christian 
Doctrine' was growing. The book gave him infinite trouble, 
and wore him out mentally and physically. A letter of June 
1845 to Mrs, William Froude tells us something of what it 
cost him: 

'Did I tell you I was preparing a book of some sort to 
advertise people how things stood with me? . . , Never 
has anything cost me (I think) so much hard thought and 
anxiety, though when I got to the end of my "Arians" 
thirteen years ago, I had no sleep for a week, and was 
fainting away or something like it day after day. Then I 
went abroad and that set me up. At present I have been 
four months and more at my new work, and found I had 
vastly more materials than I knew how to employ. The diffi- 
culty was to bring them into shape, as well as to work out in 
my mind the main principles on which they were to run. I 
spent two months in reading and writing which came to 
nothing, at least for my present purpose. I really have no 
hope it will be finished before the autumn if then. I have 
not written a sentence, I suppose, which will stand, or hardly 


so. Perhaps one gets over sensitive even about style as one 
gets on in life. My utmost ambition, in point of recreation, is 
to lay aside the actual writing for three weeks or so in the 
course of the time, and take to reading and hunting about. 
Our time is so divided here that I have not above 6 or 7 
hours a day at it, and it is so exhausting, I doubt whether I 
could give more. I am now writing it for the first time, and 
have done three chapters, out of 4 or 5. Besides re- writing, 
every part has to be worked out and defined as in moulding 
a statue. I get on as a person walks with a lame ankle, 
who does get on and gets to his journey's end but not 
comfortably. 7 

The mental tension to which these words bear witness 
was visible to his friends and comrades. He stood so the 
late Father Stanton told me for hours together at his high 
desk writing, and seemed to grow ever paler and thinner, 
while the sun appeared to shine through the almost trans- 
parent face. As the task neared its end he would stand the 
whole day, completing and revising it with the infinite care 
which was his wont. 

This great work is too well known to need full analysis 
here. It purported directly to justify what were regarded 
as Roman corruptions and additions to the primitive creed, 
as legitimate developments. The Anglican creed accepted 
developments as well as the Roman. The Councils of 
Ephesus and Chalcedon imposed additions to the defined 
creed as well as the Council of Trent. The Anglicans 
(as he argued) attempted to arrest this normal principle of 
intellectual growth; the Roman Church more consistently 
allowed it to continue its work. But the philosophy of the book 
went deeper than the theological controversy of the hour. 
It applied the great principle of life as a test of truth in 
religion. In a really living system there are changes which, 
far from being corruptions, are the natural response of a 
living social body to changing conditions. New questions 
are asked; new answers given. But the new answers were 
but the fuller expression of the original genius of the system. 
He regards Christianity as an idea with many aspects which 
were successively elicited and exhibited in fresh opportunities, 
and as having at the same time its own distinctive and unique 
genius which every aspect serves to illustrate. It grows into 


a definite philosophy or system of belief. As circumstances 
change ' old principles reappear under new forms. It changes 
with them in order to remain the same. In a higher world 
it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change and to be 
perfect is to have changed often/ Thus he accounts for and 
justifies the proud claim of the Catholic Church to be semper 
eadem, in spite of the changes in its outward form and polity 
the growth of ritual, the assimilation of extraneous philos- 
ophies by its theological schools, the changes in the method 
pursued in those schools, its fresh definitions of dogma, 
the varieties in its social standing at different epochs, in the 
Catacombs, in the theocracy of the thirteenth century, in the 
apostasy of the nineteenth. Thus he formulates the principle 
which explains why the Reformers who claimed to do away 
with the wanton innovations of Rome in religion were by 
the Church boldly accused of that very crime which they 
denounced. They discarded later additions and went back 
to the primitive text of the Scriptures, yet they were roundly 
styled by Rome novatores, or innovators. The Protestants 
had in their antiquarian zeal discarded the principle of life 
and of true identity. Their rediscoveries from primitive times 
were for the living Church novelties or dead anachronisms. 
The Catholic Church herself had the identity of uninterrupted 
life and genuine growth. 

The identity of the Church still in communion with 
Rome with the Church of earlier ages is presented in three 
singularly vivid pictures in the course of Newman's work, 
and they served as the inspiration of his life in after- 
years. I refer to the historical parallels between the Roman 
Catholic Church of the nineteenth century and the Church 
of the chief periods he surveys in his narrative the Church 
of the Apostolic period, of the Nicene period, and of the fifth 
and sixth centuries. In each case the parallel is given in his 
work after the exhibition of a mass of facts which he had 
accumulated during many weeks, and we feel the imaginative 
intellect of the poet-historian to be burning at white-heat, 
while the style never loses its self-restraint. 

Here is the first: 

'If there is a form of Christianity now in the world which 
is accused of gross superstition, of borrowing its rites and 


customs from the heathen, and of ascribing to forms and 
ceremonies an occult virtue; a religion which is considered 
to burden and enslave the mind by its requisitions, to address 
itself to the weak-minded and ignorant, to be supported by 
sophistry and imposture, and to contradict reason and exalt 
mere irrational faith; a religion which impresses on the 
serious mind very distressing views of the guilt and conse- 
quences of sin, sets upon the minute acts of the day, one by 
one, their definite value for praise or blame, and thus casts 
a grave shadow over the future; a religion which holds up 
to admiration the surrender of wealth, and disables serious 
persons from enjoying it if they would; a religion, the doc- 
trines of which, be they good or bad, are to the generality 
of men unknown; which is considered to bear on its very 
surface signs of folly and falsehood so distinct that a glance 
suffices to judge of it, and careful examination is preposterous; 
which is felt to be so simply bad that it may be calumniated 
at hazard and at pleasure, it being nothing but absurdity to 
stand upon the accurate distribution of its guilt among its 
particular acts, or painfully to determine how far this or that 
story is literally true, what must be allowed in candour, or 
what is improbable, what cuts two ways, or what is not 
proved, or what may be plausibly defended; a religion such 
that men look at a convert to it with a feeling which no other 
sect raises except Judaism, Socialism, or Mormonism, with 
curiosity, suspicion, fear, disgust, as the case may be, as if 
something strange had befallen him, as if he had had an 
initiation into a mystery, and had come into communion 
with dreadful influences, as if he were now one of a con- 
federacy which claimed him, attested him, stripped him of 
his personality, reduced him to a mere organ or instrument 
of a whole; a religion which men hate as proselytizing, anti- 
social, revolutionary, as dividing families, separating chief 
friends, corrupting the maxims of government, making a 
mock at law, dissolving the empire, the enemy of human 
nature, and "a conspirator against its rights and privileges"; 
a religion which they consider the champion and instrument 
of darkness, and a pollution calling down upon the land the 
anger of heaven; a religion which they associate with intrigue 
and conspiracy, which they speak about in whispers, which 
they detect by anticipation in whatever goes wrong, and to 
which they impute whatever is unaccountable; a religion the 
very name of which they cast out as evil, and use simply as 
a bad epithet, and which from the impulse of self-preservation 
they would persecute if they could; if there be such a 


religion now in the world, it is not unlike Christianity as 
that same world viewed it when first it came forth from its 
Divine Author.' l 

And the Nicene period, with its parallel, is given as 

'On the whole, then, we have reason to say that if there 
be a form of Christianity at this day distinguished for its 
careful organization and its consequent power; if it^is spread 
over the world; if it is conspicuous for zealous maintenance 
of its own creed; if it is intolerant towards what it considers 
error; if it is engaged in ceaseless war with all other bodies 
called Christian; if it, and it alone, is called "catholic" by 
the world, nay, by these very bodies, and if it makes much 
of the title; if it names them heretics, and warns them of 
coming woe, and calls on them, one by one, to come over to 
itself, overlooking every other tie; and if they, on the^other 
hand, call it seducer, harlot, apostate, Antichrist, devil; if, 
however they differ one with another, they consider it their 
common enemy; if they strive to unite together against it, 
and cannot; if they are but local; if they continually sub- 
divide, and it remains one; if they fall one after another, 
and make way for new sects, and it remains the same; such 
a form of religion is not unlike the Christianity of the 
Nicene era.' 2 

Finally, and with a closer detailed resemblance to the 
Roman Catholic Church of to-day, we have his summary of 
the position and characteristics of the Church in communion 
with Rome in the fifth and sixth centuries: 

'If, then, there is now a form of Christianity such that it 
extends throughout the world, though with varying measures 
of prominence or prosperity in separate places; thatjt lies 
under the power of sovereigns and magistrates, in different 
ways alien to its faith; that flourishing nations and great 
empires, professing or tolerating the Christian name, lie over 
against it as antagonists; that schools of philosophy and 
learning are supporting theories or following out conclusions 
hostile to it, and establishing an exegetical system subversive 
of its Scriptures; that it has lost whole Churches by schism, 
and is now opposed by powerful communions once part of 
itself; that it has been altogether or almost driven from some 

1 Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (ist ed.), PP- 240-42. 

2 Ibid. p. 269. 


countries; that in others its line of teachers is overlaid, its 
flocks oppressed, its churches occupied, its property held by 
what may be called a duplicate succession; that in others its 
members are degenerate and corrupt, and surpassed in con- 
scientiousness and in virtue, as in gifts of intellect, by the 
very heretics whom it condemns; that heresies are rife and 
bishops negligent within its own pale; and that amid its dis- 
orders and fears there is but one Voice for whose decisions its 
people wait with trust, one Name and one See to which they 
look with hope, and that name Peter, and that see Rome; 
such a religion is not unlike the Christianity of the fifth and 
sixth centuries.' l 

In this third parallel we seem to see his final reply to all 
that could be urged against his change, and his support in 
any trial which it might bring. In each of the first two 
parallels he hails as a note of the Church in each age the false 
judgments of its enemies. But in the last, true judgments in 
its disfavour the very reasons which might be alleged to 
hold him back are allowed for. The inferiority of Roman 
Catholics, if it so proved, in intellectual gifts and even in 
virtue, to the friends of his Oxford days, was admitted as 
consistent with the exclusive claims of Rome. The first 
parallels were but the fulfilment of a beatitude for men 
spoke evil of the Church falsely. The last takes account of 
the very arguments of those hostile critics who spoke truly. 

What mattered the shortcomings of his future comrades 
if they were members of the " Church of Athanasius"! Not 
given to strong phrases, he has told us that to live in imagi- 
nation in the Church of the Fathers had for years been to 
him a paradise of delight.' 2 And now, in the keen mental 
life which this book had aroused, all the past was alive. 
He seems in its pages to see the Catholic Church of history as 
one great aula in which the Fathers are collected at one end 
and Pope Gregory XVI. stands at the other. With heart 
and mind in such a state, the resolution he had made to wait 
until the book was published was not proof against even 
slight determining causes. He found those around him, 
whose simpler minds were strangers to his own resolve to 
resist the promptings of impulse for a fixed time, on the 

1 Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (ist ed.)j PP- 316, 317. 

2 Difficulties of Anglicans > i. 324. 


point of being received. Ambrose St. John and Dalgairns 
were on a holiday and wrote that they had actually joined 
the Church of Rome. Henry Wilberforce, on the other hand, 
who still hoped against hope to keep Newman in the Church 
of England, wrote urging him against being received in 
Advent or at Christmas hoping that delay might yet save 
him. Newman accepted this advice as an excuse to move 
not later, but earlier. Dalgairns had been on September 27 
to Aston to be admitted into the Church by Father Dominic 
the Passionist. Father Dominic was to come to visit his 
convert at Littlemore on October 8 on his way to Belgium. 
Here was the occasion which Providence supplied. Here 
was the ' kindly light 7 which relieved his uncertainty and 
marked out for him the immediate course. 

On October 3 he addressed a letter to the Provost of 
Oriel resigning his Fellowship. On the same day he wrote to 
Pusey informing him of this act, and adding, 'anything may 
happen to me now any day.' 

On October 5 he notes in his diary, I kept indoors all 
day preparing for general confession. 7 Oakeley was with 
W. G. Ward at Rose Hill, and dined with Newman that 
evening. On October 7 St. John returned to Littlemore, and 
Newman had with him when he took the great and solemn 
step the one disciple to whom he habitually opened his whole 
mind. On this day he wrote thus to Henry Wilberforce: 

* Littlemore; October 7, 1845. 

'My dearest H. W., Father Dominic the Passionist is 
passing this way, on his way from Aston in Staffordshire to 
Belgium, where a chapter of his Order is to be held at this 
time. He is to come to Littlemore for the night as a guest 
of one of us whom he has admitted at Aston. He does not 
know of my intentions, but I shall ask of him admission into 
the One true Fold of the Redeemer. I shall keep this back 
till after it is all over. 

'I could have wished to delay till my book was actually 
out, but having all along gone so simply and entirely by my 
own reason, I was not sorry to accept this matter of time 
at an inconvenience, to submit myself to what seemed an 
external call. Also I suppose the departure of others has 
had something to do with it, for when they went, it was as 
if I were losing my own bowels. 


' Father Dominic has had his thoughts turned to England 
from a youth, in a distinct and remarkable way. For thirty 
years he has expected to be sent to England, and about three 
years since was sent without any act of his own by his 
superior. He has had little or nothing to do with conver- 
sions, but goes on missions and retreats among his own 
people. I saw him over here for a few minutes on St. John 
the Baptist's day last year, when he came to see the chapel. 
He is a simple quaint man, an Italian; but a very sharp 
clever man too in his way. It is an accident his coming 
here, and I had no thoughts of applying to him till quite 
lately, nor should, I suppose, but for this accident. 

'With all affectionate thoughts to your wife and children 

and to yourself, 

1 I am, my dear H. W., 

Tuus usque ad cineres, 

J. H. N.' 

'Littlemore: October 7, 1845. 

' Carissime, I had just finished a letter to you which is 
not to go for several days, when your affectionate letter came. 
Yes, it is true. Since you said you wished it to be not at 
Christmas or Advent, my mind has turned to an earlier 
time; meanwhile my book drags through the Press to my 
disappointment. . . . 

'On Thursday or Friday, if it be God's will, I shall be 
received. We expect St. John back to-day. 

'Ever yours affectionately, 

J. H. N.' 

On the evening of October 8 Father Dominic was 
expected, and almost at the same time Stanton, who had 
been absent for a few weeks, returned. Father Dominic was 
to arrive at Oxford by the coach in the afternoon. Up to 
the very day itself Newman did not speak to the community 
at Littlemore of his intention. Dalgairns and St. John were 
to meet the Passionist Father in Oxford. The former has 
left the following account of what passed: 

'At that time all of us except St. John, though we did 
not doubt Newman would become a Catholic, were anxious 
and ignorant of his intentions in detail. About 3 o'clock I 
went to take my hat and stick and walk across the fields to 
the Oxford " Angel" where the coach stopped. As I was 
taking my stick Newman said to me in a very low and quiet 


tone: "When you see your friend, will you tell him that I 
wish him to receive me into the Church of Christ?" I said: 
"Yes" and no more. I told Fr. Dominic as he was dis- 
mounting from the top of the coach. He said: "God be 
praised," and neither of us spoke again till we reached 

It was then pouring with rain. Newman made his 
general confession that night, and was afterwards quite 
prostrate. Ambrose St. John and Stanton helped him out 
of the little Oratory. On the morrow his diary has this 
record: 'admitted into the Catholic Church with Bowles 
and Stanton.' Next day Newman made his first com- 
munion in the Oratory at Littlemore, in which Mass was said 
for the first time, and Father Dominic received Mr. and Mrs. 
Woodmason and their two daughters. Newman walked into 
Oxford in the afternoon with St. John to see Mr. Newsham, 
the Catholic priest. On the eleventh Father Dominic left. 
On the same day Newman paid a visit to W. G. Ward at 
Rose Hill, and Charles Marriott came to see him at 
Littlemore. 1 

Thus very quietly and without parade took place the 
great event dreamt of for so many years with dread at first, 
in hope at last. The MS. of the c Essay on Development 7 

1 Father Dominic himself in response to a wish expressed by many wrote to 
the Tablet a month later the following simple and in parts rather quaint record of 
his reception of the Littlemore group: 'The first of these conversions was that 
of John Dobr6e Dalgairns, Esq., who made his profession of the Catholic Faith, 
and received his first Communion on Michaelmas day, in this our chapel at Aston 
Hail. He soon after returned to Littlemore; and I was on the point of setting out 
for Belgium, when I received a letter from him, inviting me to pass through Ox- 
ford on my way; for, he said, I might perhaps find something to do there. T 
accordingly set out from here on the 8th of October, and reached Oxford about 
ten o'clock the evening of the same day. I there found Mr. Dalgairns and Mr. 
St. John, who had made his profession of Faith at Prior Park on the 2nd of 
October, awaiting my arrival. They told me that I was to receive Mr. Newman 
into the Church. This news filled me with joy, and made me soon forget the 
rain that had been pelting upon me for the last five hours. From Oxford we 
drove in a chaise to Littlemore, where we arrived about eleven o'clock, 1 im- 
mediately sat down near a fire to dry my clothes, when Mr. Newman entered the 
room, and, throwing himself at my feet, asked my blessing, and begged me to 
hear his confession, and receive him into the Church. He made his confession 
that same night, and on the following morning the Reverend Messrs. Bowles and 
Stanton did the same: in the evening of the same day these three made their 
profession of Faith in the usual form in their private Oratory, one after another* 


lay unfinished on his desk. Newman now added a few lines 
to it which give the best contemporary picture of his mind 
at the time 'one of those passages/ writes Mr. Hutton, 'by 
which Newman will be remembered as long as the English 
language endures.' 

'Such,' he wrote, 'were the thoughts concerning "The 
Blessed Vision of Peace" of one whose long-continued 
petition had been that the Most Merciful would not despise 
the work of His own hands, nor leave him to himself; while 
yet his eyes were dim, and his breast laden, and he could but 
employ Reason in the things of Faith. And now, dear 
reader, time is short, eternity is long. Put not from you 
what you have here found; regard it not as mere matter of 
present controversy; set not out resolved to refute it, and 
looking about for the best way of doing so; seduce not 
yourself with the imagination that it comes of disappoint- 
ment, or disgust, or restlessness, or wounded feeling, or 
undue sensibility, or other weakness. Wrap not yourself 
round in the associations of years past, nor determine that 
to be truth which you wish to be so, nor make an idol of 
cherished anticipations. Time is short, eternity is long. 
Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum 
tuum in pace, quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum.' 

The neophytes henceforth followed the simple rule of 
life prescribed by Father Dominic. On Sunday, October 12, 
the little church of St. Clement's, Oxford, saw for the first 
time the group from Littlemore St. John, Dalgairns, and 
Stanton accompanying Newman to Mass. On the i6th 
the same quartet again visited it to receive Communion. 
John Walker was admitted into the Church at Oxford on 

with such f ervour and piety that I was almost out of myself for joy. I after- 
wards gave them all canonical absolution, and administered to them the Sacra- 
ment of Baptism sub conditions. On the following morning I said Mass in their 
oratory, and gave Communion to Messrs. Newman, St. John, Bowles, Stanton 
and Dalgairns. After Mass, Mr, Dalgairns took me to the house of Wood- 
mason, Esq., a gentleman of Littlemore; I heard his confession, and that of his 
wife and two daughters, and received all four into the Church. When I returned 
from Belgium, I passed through Littlemore again, and had the happiness to find 
the Reverend F. Oakeley and another reverend gentleman already received into 
the Church, by the Reverend R. Newsham. I had the pleasure of administering 
Communion to Mr. Oakeley and the other converts to the number of seven. I 
can vouch for the truth of this much, as having been eye-witness; the rest I hope 
some other eye-witness will supply. 1 


the 2ist, Oakley on the 29th, on which day Father Dominic 
paid a second visit to Littlemore. On the 23rd Dalgairns 
accompanied the rest of the Littlemore party to Mass at 
St. Clement's and then left for Oscott en route for France, 
where he was to read theology with his friend M. Lorain at 
Langres. R. W. Church and James Robert Hope (after- 
wards Hope-Scott) were the only Anglican friends whom 
Newman saw before going up to Oscott on the 3ist to 
receive Confirmation at the hands of Dr. Wiseman. 

Of the meeting between Newman and Wiseman on this 
occasion the late Canon Bernard Smith, who was present, 
gave me the following account: 

'The meeting between the two men was characteristic. 
The great Oxford leader, who had at last owned that Rome 
had conquered, had come, as it were, to surrender his sword 
to the man who had so strenuously urged surrender as 
his only course. Orders disowned, preferments resigned, he 
came in poverty and simplicity to ask for Confirmation at 
the hands of the Bishop, His faith and conviction brought 
him to Oscott, but they could not untie his tongue or rid 
him of the embarrassment which belonged to the situation. 
In company with John Walker and Ambrose St, John, he 
was ushered into the Oscott guest-room, and in a few minutes 
Bishop Wiseman, with Mr. Bernard Smith and Father 
Ignatius 'Spencer, 1 entered the room. The embarrassment 
was mutual, and Wiseman could scarcely find words for 
more than formal inquiries about the journey. Any touch 
of exultation, or any expression of commonplace and con- 
ventional congratulation, would, as all felt instinctively, out- 
rage a situation in which the leading mind was so highly 
wrought that silence seemed the only possible course. The 
two principal figures sat almost silent, while their companions 
talked more readily to each other. A message which shortly 
announced that a boy was waiting to go to Confession to 
the Bishop gave Wiseman an excuse for retiring, which he 
accepted with significant alacrity. 

'The Confirmation was given on November i, the feast 
of All Saints, and the ice was then broken and much, 
conversation on the past and future ensued. 7 

The period which followed will be best depicted by a 

1 The well-known Passionist Father, youngest son of the second Earl Spen- 
cer. He had become a Catholic in 1830, and was at Oscott from 1^30 to 1846. 


liberal selection from Newman's letters many of them 
hardly more than notes. Father Whitty, 1 who often saw him 
and his brother converts at that time, used to say that they 
gave him an idea of the early Christian community of apos- 
tolic days. The letters they exchanged are marked by absolute 
simplicity. There is no attempt in them at literary form. 
They are direct and objective rather than reflective. Discus- 
sion and reasoning belonged to the past. The time had 
come for Faith and Action. Intense reality brings a certain 
reserve, and the letters show, what Father Whitty also noted 
in his recollections, that the converts were far less apt to 
talk effusively of religion after their reception than before. 
With Newman himself there was the lasting happiness of 
coming into port, as he has expressed it, after a rough sea. 2 
But the past struggle left its scars and its fatigue, and he, 
personally, in his absolute candour, disowned the lively 
sentiments which younger followers experienced. We see 
in his own letters, as in those of the others, the sense of a 
great work before them namely, the chivalrous attempt to 
win what was a lost cause in the world's eye. They were to 
restore England to the obedience of the Catholic Church, so 
long dethroned; and they assumed the designation of the 
eighteenth-century Jacobites ' those who went out in '45.' 
There is something of the sense of adventure apparent in 
many of the letters. They are like the simple and practical 
intercourse between men who are founding a settlement in 
the wilds. Elaboration of speech and feeling disappears 
before the effort to find or make their way in unfamiliar 
country. The past was broken with. What Oxford was doing 
or saying of them was a matter only of momentary interest 
when it was brought before them. Their thoughts, as their 
prospects, were elsewhere. They had come into a new land. 
The note of what critics term 'proselytism' is at this 
time observable. The movement seemed for the moment 
destined to bear its fruit by a large accession to the Catholic 
Church. It was a direct attempt to lead men to leave 

1 Father Robert Whitty, S.J., was in 1845 a young secular priest. He was 
later on Vicar-General of the Westminster Diocese, and subsequently Provincial 
of the English Jesuits. 

2 Vide Apologia, p. 238. 

VOL. I. E 


the Communion In which they were born. Conversions actual 
and prospective are a favourite subject in -the letters. Many 
names of persons not heard of before or since appear in 
them. An excitement, a keen sense of pleasure in action in 
its nature transient, hangs over the period of this novitiate 
in the Church of their adoption. It is to some extent present 
in Newman's own letters, which tell of constant activity; 
though he now and again sighs for rest. 

If the causes I have suggested gave rise to great reserve 
among the converts in speaking openly and reflectively of 
religion, association with the English Catholics of the old 
school doubtless fostered it. The deep and undemonstrative 
piety of such men as Dr. Newsham of Ushaw, and Dr. 
Weedall the former president of Oscott ; was accompanied 
with suspicion and dislike of phrases and professions. * Deeds, 
not words/ was the Ushaw motto, and the spirit of this motto 
was prevalent even to excess in the English Catholics of 
that time. Newman has himself described in the sermon he 
preached at Dr. WeedalFs grave ' that old school of Catholics 
which had characteristics so great and so special/ who were 
'simple, single-minded, blameless, modest, and true/ having 
'nothing extravagant, nothing fitful, nothing pretentious.* 
But the depth of feeling which possessed Newman is occa- 
sionally apparent in a chance line or sentence in a letter, 
when he speaks of the constant nearness of the Blessed 
Sacrament in his Catholic home. The speech and writing 
then of the converts were for the most part very simple, some- 
times almost childlike. And we must fill in the picture by 
bearing in mind some characteristics noted by Father Whitty 
their total disregard for comforts and conventionalities, 
the daily life of prayer and self-denial, with the morning 
meditation and Mass as its mainspring; the sense of 
brotherhood among the neophytes. 

The Confirmation at Oscott was a landmark, and Dr. 
Wiseman wrote of it as follows in a letter to Dr. Russell of 

' Newman came on the Eve of All Saints with Messrs. 
St. John and Walker, and was followed by Mr. Oakeley. 
Those from Littlemore had been confirmed here the Sunday 
before. On All Saints, Newman, Qakeley, and the other 


two were confirmed, and we had ten quondam Anglican 
clergymen in the chapel. Has this ever happened before 
since the Reformation? Newman took the name of Mary; 
Oakeley, Bernard and Mary. Newman stayed with us 
Sunday and half of Monday, and he and all his party then 
expressed themselves, and have done so since, highly grati- 
fied by all they saw and felt. Oakeley stays with us 
altogether. Newman's plans are not finally determined, nor 
will they be till his book is finished. But he opened Ms 
mind completely to me; and I assure you the Church has 
not received, at any time, a convert who has joined her in 
more docility and simplicity of faith than Newman.' 

Before Newman and St. John left the College, plans 
began to form themselves definitely for the future. The day 
was commemorated by a joint gift of a Roman missal to 
Newman from Ambrose St. John and the absent brother, John 
Bernard Dalgairns. Newman placed in it the following 
inscription in which he added to the customary initials of 
himself and each of his friends that of their Confirmation 


A. M. St. John et J. D. M. B. Dalgairns 

Fratres fratri 

Contubernales contubernali 
Hie peregrinans, ille domi 

dono dederunt 
in festo Omn. SS. 1845.' 

The ' Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine' 
appeared in the course of the month. Dr. Wiseman judged 
that it would be a more effective plea for the Catholic reli- 
gion if it received no theological revision. It was published as 
it stood. The conversion of England' for which the Eng- 
lish Catholics sighed during the long reign of Elizabeth, long 
retaining the phrase in Stuart times after hope for the reality 
was practically extinguished was now once more seriously 
talked of and prayed for. Newman at no time ignored 
adverse omens; but Father Robert Whitty used to describe 

E 2 


the scale of hope and feeling among Catholics at this moment 
as quite exceptional. There was a general sense that super- 
natural agencies were in operation, and there was in the at- 
mosphere that faith which works wonders. For years the 
old English Catholics had laughed at the bare idea of the 
Oxford School submitting to the Holy See. Their Catholi- 
cism had been treated as unpractical antiquarianism. So 
unlooked-for a marvel as the conversion of Newman and his 
friends brought a reaction, and men were now prepared for 
any marvels that might follow, 1 Newman's own imagination 
dwelt on the early triumph of the despised and superstitious 
sect of Christians in an empire yet greater in its day than 
the British Empire of the nineteenth century. Sanguine 
confidence of great visible achievement was utterly alien to 
his nature. But he never lost the sense that God can do all 
things even through insignificant instruments; and he saw 
day by day the accession of recruits conspicuous for piety or 
ability. Where would it end, and what might it not lead to? 
We cannot read his letters written at the time without seeing 
that the thought was present to him of great possibilities in 
the future. But his immediate care was to do his own duty 7 
leaving the result, great or small, to God. He was slow to 
make over-definite plans rather waiting for a further sign 
in the course of events. 

He hesitated even before becoming a priest. He was 
opposed to founding an Order or Congregation for the 
neophytes at once, preferring to wait on events, and accept- 
ing after some consideration Wiseman's offer of the Old 
Oscott College close to the existing college as a tem- 
porary residence for the Oxford converts. A visit to Rome 

1 *This movement is assuredly only in its commencement/ says a writer in 
the Orthodox Journal of December i, 'but I cannot help feeling that we Catholics 
have too often shewn ourselves unworthy of the great mercies which have been 
poured upon us. Surely these firstfruits ought to urge us to greater fervour and 
diligence than we have hitherto exhibited. Above all, let us be instant in 
prayer for the conversion of our country. Recent events have given a palpable 
token of the efficacy of prayer. Woe be to us if we do not persevere. 

May I suggest one [name] deserving of veneration, and which I myself have 
rarely omitted: one that all must respect, all must wish well to there is a want 
among the returned pilgrims without him which all must deplore. Reader, may 
I recommend to your good prayers, by name that of DR. 

LAST BAYS AT LITTLEMORE (1845-1846) 101 

seemed to him from the first an essential preliminary to 
any decisive step. 

The early days of November brought a fresh batch of 
converts. Newman tells Dalgairns in a letter, as a 'great 
secret/ of the impending visit of Frederick Faber to Oscott, 
when he, Watts-Russell, Francis Knox, and eight others are 
to be 'received.' He welcomes Dr. Wiseman's proposal that 
they should migrate from Littlemore and be his neighbours 
at Old Oscott. 'It seems the right thing as well as necessary/ 
he writes, c in the first place to submit ourselves to the exist- 
ing system and to work ourselves out through it. If we are 
worth anything we shall emerge.' He felt that he must be in 
touch with the Catholic community as a whole. 

'It is quite necessary to see people/ Newman writes 
to Ambrose St. John on November 19; and the next few 
months saw him active in intercourse with the old Catholics 
and converts. 

Newman has described in a well-known passage what the 
'Roman Catholic* body had been in his eyes and in the eyes 
of the average Englishman in his boyhood. Catholics were 
wholly external to English society, which had in their regard 
'the sort of knowledge possessed of Christianity by the 
heathen of old time, who persecuted its adherents from the 
face of the earth and then called them a gens lucifuga, a 
people who shunned the light of day.' l And though his 
study of their theology had since been so complete, and he 
had had some intercourse with individuals, he had as yet no 
knowledge of the English Catholics as a body. He was now 
to enter a new society. 

The Roman Catholics had in 1845 made considerable 
strides since the days of his boyhood. Their schools and 
colleges which Newman was now to visit were flourishing 
institutions, and they were all in some sense historic, and 
recalled that ordeal of persecution which he held to be the 
normal lot of faithful Christians. They were the outcome of 
two gigantic exhibitions of intolerance in high places towards 
the Catholic religion. For they were all the descendants of 
houses of education abroad, built by the Catholics of England 
when Elizabeth banished them from their own land and a 
1 See Occasional Sermons, p. 172. 


Catholic house of education in England was liable to Imme- 
diate confiscation; and they owed their actual existence to the 
French Revolution, which drove religious houses and colleges 
alike from France. A kinder spirit than that of Elizabeth 
or Robespierre now allowed them to settle and thrive on Eng- 
lish soil. St. Edmund's College and Ushaw were direct heirs 
to Douai College founded by Cardinal Allen in Elizabeth's 
reign, and finally suppressed under the Terror in 1793. Stony- 
hurst represented the Jesuit College at St. Omer. 

Prior Park was somewhat different in its story and 
character. The house was originally a picturesque country 
seat near Bath, and remained so up to 1829, the year of 
Catholic Emancipation, when it was bought by Bishop Baines, 
the Vicar Apostolic of the western district, as an episcopal 
residence. The Bishop added to it a school and a college 
for divinity students. Bishop Baines was a Benedictine, a 
man of great personal gifts, and was destined (so Cardinal 
Wiseman testifies in his c Last Four Popes') by Leo XIL to 
be the first Cardinal resident in England. The death of 
Leo XII. prevented his elevation to the purple, and he devoted 
his energies to the success of his college at Prior Park, on 
which he left the impress of his own piety, refinement, and 
culture. During his long absence in Rome Dr. Thomas 
Brindle, his coadjutor, another Benedictine and a man of 
somewhat similar stamp, had administered the government 
of the diocese and of the college; and at Dr. Baines's death 
in 1843 Dr. Brindle was his successor in both capacities. 

Visits were now arranged to St. Edmund's College and 
to Prior Park. Ushaw and Stonyhurst were to follow later. 
Newman made acquaintance with Dr. Griffiths, the Vicar 
Apostolic of the London district, and with Father Brownbill, 
the well-known Jesuit, who received so many of the converts 
into the Church. He had probably been suspicious of Dr. 
Griffiths, as the opponent of those more enterprising Catholics 
of whom Dr. Wiseman was the chief, and the result of the 
interview was a pleasant surprise. The visit interested him 
and the general outlook was encouraging, though the report 
of a letter from Father Dominic to the Tablet describing Ms 
reception evidently tried his fastidious temper, 1 

1 See p. 94, footnote. 

LAST DAYS AT LITTLEMORE (1845-1846) 103 

The following extracts are from letters to Ambrose St. 

* * i Temple: November 20, 1845. 

'I have seen Mr. Brownbill to-day, and taken Miss 
Giberne 1 to him (this is a secret) and had an hour's talk with 
Dr. Griffiths, who is a very amiable taking person not at 
all what I expected. Our talk was almost general but 

'Faber &c. were received on Monday. Whether I go to 
St. Edmund's to-morrow or Saturday depends on Knox, 
whom I shall hear from to-morrow. 

'I dine with Badeley to-day. 

Yesterday I was at Moorfields to-day at Lincoln's Inn 
Fields Chapel. I have seen Oakeley several times, and break- 
fasted with Christie this morning. There's a journal for you.' 

' The Temple: November 22, 1845. 

* Yesterday afternoon I was at St. Edmund's, and returned 
this morning. 

'A letter has come from the Pope addressed to Dr. 
Wiseman, congratulating "Joannem Henricum Newman, 
Puseistorum factionis ducem" on his recovery from the 
heresy in which "miserrime jacuerat." It has the Pope's 
autograph signature. Also he transmitted to me a kind 
letter from Cardinal Acton. . . . 

'Carissime, I was much taken with those St. Edmund's 
people. Dr. Cox 2 is very pleasing, and Mr. Whitty is one 
of the most striking men I have seen. I hope I see him as 
he is, for a more winning person I have not met with. I 
really seemed to form a sudden friendship with him, as the 
ladies in "the Rovers." He is in appearance almost as young 
as you are, quite a boy. Everything I saw impressed me 
with the one idea you got elsewhere, of simplicity. 

1 Christie was confirmed this morning. Estcourt 3 is still 
in trouble. He is to be received about December i6/ 

On the 24th he repaired to Oscott to discuss his plans 
with Dr. Wiseman, and wrote thence to Frederick Bowles, 
who was with Ambrose St. John at Littlemore: 

' St. Mary's, Oscott. Nov. 25/45. 

' Charles Woodmason and I ... arrived here on the 
festival of St. Cecilia kept here on Monday, Saturday being 

1 Miss Maria Rosina Giberne, see p. 1 1 2 . 2 The President of St. Edmund's. 
3 Albany Christie and Edgar Estcourt were both received in 1845. The 
former became a Jesuit, the latter was from 1850 a canon of Birmingham, 


Confession day. It is here kept by the boys as a yearly gala 
with a concert. I think they were half scandalized at our 
coming just then though pleased too they said it was the 
most noisy day of the year, etc. ; etc. We found the passage 
crowded and no servants to answer the bell, and had to poke 
in as we might, leaving our luggage at the entrance. I say 
they perhaps were scandalized, for they have the most absurd 
notions about us. I think they fancy I never eat, and I have 
just lost a good dinner in consequence. After returning from 
Birmingham walking and hungry, I literally have had to pick 
up a crust from the floor left at breakfast and eat it, from 
shame at asking again and again for things. But this is a 
digression, . . . Well, we were ushered into the boys' dining 
room the orchestra at the end, and the tables plentifully 
laden for all hearers with cake and (pro pudor) punch a 
very sensible way of hearing music- They certainly were 
scandalized at my detecting the punch for they said again 
and again that it was made of lemon and sugar. All I can 
say is that ours at the high table was remarkably stiff, and 
that I was obliged to dilute it to twice or thrice its quantity 
with water. The concert was capital, the voices remarkably 
good, and the instruments played with great spirit but its 
gem was towards the end. Only fancy the Bishop, me and 
the whole of that good company, listening to Mynheer 
Vandunk in honor of St. Cecilia. And the worst is that 
the tune has been running in my head all this morning. 
Then we went to Chapel, then a hymn was sung really to her 
hoaor, and a commemoration made. 

'I found Faber and Knox 1 were in Birmingham, having 
come for the chance of seeing me. Knox is a very young 
looking man aged 23. He may come to Littlemore any day, 
so be ready for Mm. 

'Faber proposes to go with me on a visit to Ushaw and 
Stonyhurst. We are setting out Thursday or Friday. . . . 

'I had more to tell you but Faber has been sitting here 
an hour and more, and driven things from my head. This 
gas makes my head and eyes ache.' 

To Ambrose St. John he wrote on the following day: 

'St. Mary's, Oscott: November 26*, 1845. 

'I declare I doubt whether I shall have courage to look 
into Father Dominic's Epistle. One must bear the infliction 
as one does a stomach ache; with the feeling that grumbling 
does no good. 

1 Francis Knox, afterwards of the London Oratory. 

LAST DAYS AT LITTLEMORE (1845-1846) 105 

'This is a most portentously windy place. I am in the 
Stranger's Room the chimney almost vibrating my ankles 
fanned with a continuous stream of air, and the shrieking 
and screaming of the keyhole and casements making me 
shiver. See what stuff I am putting into my letter for want 
of matter. But I can't help writing to dear Littlemore, now 
that I am a pilgrim at a distance from it. I suppose it is 
good penance going from home.' 

The plans for the future framed themselves, as Newman 
wished, only gradually. And Bishop Wiseman, ever elastic 
and keen in initiation, was prepared to leave the converts, if 
they finally accepted his offer of Old Oscott, with an unde- 
fined programme, until more thought and further experience 
of the several capacities of recruits should enable them to 
make the prospect more definite. One or two priests, good 
theologians and experienced directors, were at first to live 
with them for their guidance. The Bishop's programme for 
the new apostles of the Church was one of preaching and 
writing, chiefly with a view to counteracting the anti-Christian 
influences of the day. 1 

While Wiseman welcomed the neophytes with enthusiasm, 
and their general reception among Catholics was cordial, 
there remained a few who looked at them askance, holding 
that nothing good could come from Oxford Puseyism. The 
ascetic life at Littlemore was disparaged as due to pride and 
a love of singularity. Good Father Dominic was indignant at 
this jarring note, and published in a second letter to the Tablet 
his own reflections on what had occurred, and a description of 
the scene of the conversions which were the topic of the hour. 
This production of the holy and simple Italian priest was so 
quaint and characteristic that it deserves to be given at 

'The events that have lately happened at Littlemore, 
will undoubtedly draw the attention of many reflecting 
persons. Friends and enemies will alike be attracted to their 

1 'What we wanted, he said, was this a body of men educated above the 
common run not for ordinary missionary purposes but for extraordinary princi- 
pally for two objects, first to meet the growing Germanism and infidelity of the 
times by literature; next to be preachers/ &c. Letter from Newman to Hope- 
Scott, dated November 28, 1845. 


consideration, and both will draw the consequence which 
their hopes or fears may suggest. ... 

'Men "are but too commonly inclined to connect the idea 
of a great event with the idea of some great place, where they 
imagine it to have occurred; but in this they are not unfre- 
queatly deceived. Sinai, whereon the law was given to Moses, 
is a large mountain, it is true; so also Jerusalem, where Solo- 
mon's temple was built, was a large city. But Bethlehem was 
a small town, and Calvary a despicable place; here, however, 
the great mysteries of our redemption were accomplished. 
Under the new dispensation great things have been but seldom 
connected with great places. This will serve to give some hint 
of the idea the reader is to form of Littlemore. When he hears 
this name he is liable to figure to himself some large and 
magnificent building, but he is very much deceived.^ 

'Littlemore is a village about two or three miles from 
Oxford. It presents nothing charming in its aspect or 
situation, but is placed in a low, flat country; it exhibits no 
delightful villas, nor agreeable woods and meadows, but one 
unvaried uniform appearance, rather dull than pleasant. In 
the midst of this village we meet with a building, which has 
more the look of a barn than a dwelling house; and in reality, 
I think it formerly was a bam. This unsightly building is 
divided by a number of walls, so as to form so many little cells; 
and it is so low that you might almost touch the roof with your 
hand. In the interior you will find the most beautiful speci- 
men of patriarchal simplicity and gospel poverty. To pass 
from one cell to another, you must go through a little outside 
corridor, covered indeed with tiles, but open to all inclemencies 
of the weather. At the end of this corridor, you find a small 
dark room, which has served as an oratory. In the cells noth- 
ing is to be seen but poverty and simplicity bare walls, floors 
composed of a few rough bricks, without carpet, a straw bed, 
one or two chairs, and a few books, this comprises the whole 
furniture! ! ! The refectory and kitchen are in the same style, 
all very small and very poor. From this description one may 
easily guess what sort of diet was used at table; no delicacies, 
no wine, no ale, no liquors, but seldom meat; all breathing 
an air of the strictest poverty, such as I have never witnessed 
in any religious house in Italy or France, or in any other 
country where I have been. A Capuchin monastery would 
appear a great palace when compared with Littlemore, 

'Now, in this house, I may say barn, the best geniuses of 
the Anglican Church have retired, and lived together for 

LAST DAYS AT LITTLEMORE (1845-1846) 107 

about six years, persons of birth, learning, and piety, who 
possessed, or at least might have possessed, the richest 
livings and fellowships which the Church of England can 
bestow on her followers. 

' This is indeed a surprising fact, one which ought to excite 
the attention and thoughts of every reflecting person. Why 
did these men take such a resolution? Through pride, 
perhaps? So, at least, I have heard from some: but how 
uncharitable! how unjust! how groundless such a suspicion! 
Those who entertain such an idea, might in the same way 
calumniate our Blessed Saviour, his Apostles, and all the 
followers of the Gospel. 

'Why, then, have these men confined themselves to such 
a place? Why! Because they considered that the Gospel 
was better than worldly wisdom; because they looked upon 
the salvation of their souls as something far above the 
possession of rich livings, and heaven much superior to e^rth. 
The man that is not stirred up by these examples is inexor- 
able in his blindness. men, Englishmen, hear the voice 
of Littlemore. Those walls bear testimony that the Catholic 
is a little more than the Protestant Church, the soul a little 
more than the body, eternity a little more than the present 
time. Understand well this little more, and I am sure you 
will do a little more for your eternal salvation. 

'Dominick of the Mother of God, 

A letter from Newman to Dalgairns early in December 
gives a vivid picture of this time of conversions certain and 
probable, and of the doings of old Oxford friends. 

* Littlemore: December 10, 1845. 

Carissime, I was present at Coffin's 1 reception at Prior 
Park this day week, in fest. Francis Xavier and I left him 
at once much overcome and somewhat sad with the prospect 
of confession. He did not make his first Communion till 
the day before yesterday, Monday, the feast of the Concep- 
tion, I suppose wishing to receive first on that day. He wrote 
to me the same day saying that he was full of a peace and joy 
which he had not had for years. This seems to have been 
the experience of every one of us but one ; I suppose because 

1 Robert Aston Coffin , afterwards a Redemptorist and later Bishop of South- 
wark, was Vicar of St. Mary Magdalene's, Oxford. He was received at Prior 
Park by Dr, Brindle in December 1845- 


he has not faith enough. 1 Since St. John wrote, a Mr. Henry 
Marshall (a second of the name) has been received he is a 
Curate of Robert Wilberforce, the Yorkshire Archdeacon; 
and a clergyman named Birks of the Chester Diocese. 
Formby 2 has left this place this morning and, tho' it is not 
to be talked about, is with his Curate Mr. Bardex, to meet me 
at Oscott at Christmas when I suppose they will be received. 
He has given up his living. A Mr. Martin, a clergyman in 
Suffolk, has had some correspondence with me and is to 
have a talk with me at Christmas, which apparently will end 
in his reception, and a person, layman or clerk, I know not, 
in Devonshire, is all but made up he sticks at St. Cyprian 
and is to bring others. And an attorney in Gloucestershire 
has written to me. Spencer Northcote, Christie's pupil, who 
married one of the Pooles, is all but safe. Macmullen 3 and 
Lewis 4 are very near } I am told and I hear other names 
which it is not well to name. Good Father Dominic has 
published a second letter in the Tablet, which no one here 
can read with a grave face there seems a consensus that the 
sooner it is forgotten the better. I have been afraid to look 
at it. Bishop Wareing has been publishing in the Tablet 
an account of Faber, his serving at Mass &c. &c., calling him 
in various parts of his letter "the devout Faber/' "the pious 
Faber," and "the humble Faber JJ I have written to Dr. 
Wiseman to remonstrate about both these compositions. . . . 
'I dined with Johnson 5 yesterday, who was in good 
spirits, and very glad to see Walker and me. St. John and 
I are to go soon. Church was there, who seems nearly the 
only person who is not too sore to bear the meeting. ... I 
saw Pusey on my way to Prior Park with Coffin he was 
tried to see me, and looked thin and pale. St. John was with 
me. He [Pusey] had begun my book and asked if I meant 
that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was developed just as 
the Papal Supremacy. He has been extremely pained to find 
from Faber's and Oakeley's proceedings that after all we 
really do mean to proselytise, instead of considering ourselves 
transferred to another part of the vineyard. He has said he 

1 On the other hand the reader should compare with this statement the 
letter quoted at p. 201, in which he speaks of his * fulness of satis! action * m his 
new religion as the 'earnest and the beginning of the repose of heaven/ 

2 Henry Formby, vicar of Ruardean, Gloucestershire, was received Into the 
Catholic Church on January 24, 1846. 

z R, G. Macmullen, of Corpus, afterwards Canon Macmullen of Chelsea. 
4 Mr. David Lewis, of Jesus College. 

6 Mr. Manuel Johnson, the well-known astronomer, known as ' Observer 1 

LAST DAYS AT LITTLEMORE (1845-1846) 109 

did not wish to hear from Faber again, and that another spirit 
besides love was at the bottom of the movement of certain 
persons. He was pierced, as if by a new thing, at the con- 
version of a Miss Munro, whom he and Oakeley knew. It 
took him quite by surprise. . . . 

'Oakeley has settled at St. Edmund's, meaning to be at 
Oscott till over Christmas he left this place for Oscott this 
morning. Dr. Wiseman has been most singularly kind about 
it, showing no suspicion at all though Oakeley changed his 
mind about Oscott. 

'My book came to a second edition at once. Toovey 
wants a second 1,500, but I cannot help thinking 1,000 will 
be enough. We have just got a piano for Walker, and I 
have been tuning my violin. 1 I hope that is not wrong in 
Advent. . . . [John Moore] Capes was very flourishing his 
wife is to be received nearly directly. His brother, 2 a proctor 
in Doctor's Commons, has just been received and given up 
i,2oo/. a year or thereabouts. These two Capes's have done 
together the greatest thing that has been done in money 
matters. . . . ' Ever yours affectionately , 

J. H. N. J 

Another letter to the same friend, six days later, describes 
visits to Prior Park and St. Edmund's and records what were 
practically the final arrangements for taking possession of 
Old Oscott, although Newman did not give his formal decision 
until a little later in the month: 

' Littlemore: December 16, 1845. 

C I was but a few hours at St. Edmund's (Nov. 21). Mr 
Whitty I liked extremely. ... He is a very simple, natural, 
warm-hearted, reflecting person apparently not thirty 
very expectant of great accession of information and instruc- 
tion &c. from the converts. Dr. Cox is not more than 39, 
but looks fifty. He is mild and taking in his deportment. 
I liked him too very much. They both were most pressing 
to keep me; so I am going again. There is apparently little 
learning or cultivation there they are behindhand and have 
not the worldly set out (I am not using the words in a bad 
sense) of Prior Park. They wanted me to write histories of 
England, &c. &c. for education. They all seemed to have 

1 'Yesterday evening/ writes Walter to Richard Stanton on December 10, 
* Newman and I had some delightful duets of Beethoven and Haydn/ 

2 Frederick Capes, afterwards an occasional writer in the Rambler, of 
which his brother was founder in '48 and editor until '58. 


a great idea of Oxford men, and to be very willing to follow 
their lead. 

' Dr. Griffiths I was much pleased with. I sat with him an 
hour. He quite took away my scruples about ordination did 
I tell you? He fully allowed, as they did at Oscott, that Angli- 
can orders were but doubtful i.e. some said they were good, 
others not. But he said that excepting in Baptism, a condition 
was not expressed that in Confirmation and Ordination it was 
Implied in the intention of the administrator. And he gave this 
curious proof of it that now and then they repeat their own 
confirmations and ordinations i.e. when there is some doubt- 
arid that without condition so that they do nothing to ours 
which they do not do to their own under like circumstances. 

'As to Prior Park, Dr. Brindle is a gentleman in the true 
sense of the word and I think is just what Capes described. 
I do not think it a school of perfection, but of sensible^ as 
well as earnest (for I do think so) religion. In the Bishop's 
house the whole set out is gentlemanlike yet accompanied 
with the deep impression of religion as an objective fact, 
which I should not expect to see in an Anglican House 
(parsonage) equally gentlemanlike. How can it be otherwise 
with the Blessed Sacrament in it? I think I should get on 
well with Dr. B. and the bursar Mr. Shattock, who is 
very like an Oxford resident of 50 years old, say a fellow of 
Magdalen or St. John's, in externals. I was amused at the 
set out. I saw Lord Clifford there. They would not let me 
herd with the theological students, which I wished to do 
but I believe their mode of living is very plain. There 
cannot be greater contrasts than are presented by Oscott, 
Prior Park, and Old Hall Green one with another. 

'Do not expect to have such oppressive letters from me 
always I am idle just now. I have no resolution to read 
this over.' 

At Christmas time a systematic round of visits to the 
Catholic colleges was arranged. The account in his diary of 
this effort to make personal acquaintance with his co-religion- 
ists is minute as to dates and places. With Knox, Walker t and 
St. John, Newman had a farewell dinner at the Observatory 
on Christmas Day, and next morning, after breakfasting at 
Magdalen with the 'father of ritualism, 7 J. R, Bloxarn, 1 went 
with Coffin to London and on to St. Edmund's, where his 

1 The great friend of Dr. Routh, and afterwards rector of Upper Seeding 
Priory, Sussex, well known as an antiquarian, writer. 


friendship with Mr. Whitty was renewed. The 2gth saw 
him again at Oscott, where he found old friends Estcourt, 
Neve, Penny, Oakeley, Christie, Capes. Ambrose St. John 
and Capes joined him next day, and visits were paid to Bishop 
Walsh and to Father Dominic at Aston, and to Faber, who 
was in Birmingham. Old Oscott was carefully reconnoitred 
and arranged for the future. On the 7th of January he passed 
some days with Mr. Ambrose Lisle Phillipps at Grace Dieu, 
Coffin and Capes being fellow-guests, 1 and visited the Trappist 
Monastery of Mount St. Bernard and Dr. Briggs, the Vicar 
Apostolic, with whom he went on the i2th to Ushaw (then 
under Dr. Newsham's presidency), calling on Bishops Mostyn 
and Riddell on the way. At Ushaw he stayed until the isth, 
witnessing the President's feast day. By Dr. Newsham him- 
self he was more impressed than by any Catholic dignitary 
except only Bishop Wiseman. 

On the 1 6th, with St. John, Newman took route for Stony- 
hurst travelling by Todmorden and Burnley, and ending up 
with a ten-mile walk through Erfield and Whalley. At 
Hodder, the junior Jesuit house near Stonyhurst, he found his 
old Oxford friend George Tickell in the novitiate and Oakeley 
in retreat. On the iSth, with St. John, he proceeded to Pres- 
ton, where he visited the Jlsuit priests, and then went in the 
evening to Birmingham, arriving there at i A.M. Here he 
came upon J. B. Morris and other friends, who had just been 
received into the Church. The igih. saw him at Bishop 
Eaton, and Bishops Brown and Sharpies took him to Liver- 
pool. He visited the churches and dined with Dr. Youens, 
the Vicar-General, returning at night to Bishop Eaton. The 
2ist found him again in London at the end of his wanderings 
'a pilgrim/ he writes to a friend, ' without peas in my 
shoes.' He dined on the 22nd with Badeley and James 
Hope, returning to Littlemore on the following day, finding 
Pusey to greet him; and the faithful R. W. Church came to 
him next day from Oxford. 

'My wanderings lasted through a month' (he writes to 
Henry Wilberforce) 'such a life is a great trouble to me, but 

1 From Grace Dieu he writes to Ambrose St. John: 'Here I have been 
seized with one of my bashful fits and cannot speak two words, if it was to keep 
me from starving/ 


I was received with the most unaffected singlehearted kind- 
ness everywhere, and saw nothing but what made me feel 
admiration and awe of the system in which I find myself/ 

His disciple, and old family friend, Miss Maria Rosina 
Giberne, had just been received into the Church by Mr. Brown- 
bill. Miss Giberne, a lady of remarkable gifts, belonging to a 
Huguenot family, played an important part in a later chapter 
of Newman's life. He wrote to her at this time as follows: 

' As you say, "one step enough for me " let us hope and be- 
lieve that that Most Merciful Hand, which has guided us hith- 
erto, will guide us still and that we shall, one and all, you as 
well as I and my Littlemore infants, all find our vocation hap- 
pily. We are called into God's Church for something, not for 
nothing surely. Let us wait and be cheerful, and be sure 
that good is destined for us, and that we are to be made useful/ 

Another letter to the same correspondent a week later 
tells us much of his own feelings at this time: 

1 Littlemore: Jan. 28, 1846. 

'My dear Miss Giberne, Your feelings at present must 
indeed be very much tried, and I sincerely thank you for 
letting me share them. Take your present trial, as you do, 
as a gracious means of bringing you under the more intimate 
protection of your true friendsf those Saints and Angels 
unseen, who can do so much more for you with God, and in 
the course of life, than any mere child of man, however dear 
and excellent. You speak as if I were not in your case, for, 
though I left Littlemore, I carried my friends with me, but 
alas! can you point to any one who has lost more in the way 
of friendship, whether by death or alienation, than I have? 
but even as regards friends of this world I have found that 
Divine Mercy wonderfully makes up my losses, as if "instead 
of thy fathers thou shalt have children " were fulfilled in 
individuals as well as to the Church. I am now engaged in 
looking over, sorting, burning my papers and letters, and 
have had pangs and uttered deep sighs, such as I have not 
at all yet (though I used before) since my reception into the 
Church. So many dead, so many separated. My mother 
gone; my sisters nothing to me, or rather foreign to me; of 
my greatest friends, Froude, Wood, Bowden taken away, all 
of whom would now be, or be coming, on my side. Other 
dear friends who are preserved in life not moving with 
me; Pusey strongly bent on an opposite course; William^ 

LAST DAYS AT LITTLEMORE (1845-1846) 113 

protesting against my conduct as rationalistic, and dying 1 ; 
Rogers and J. Mozley viewing it with utter repugnance. Of 
my friends of a dozen years ago whom have I now? and 
what did I know of my present friends a dozen years ago? 
Why, they were at school, or they were freshmen looking up to 
me, if they knew my name, as some immense and unap- 
proachable don; and now they know nothing, can know nothing 
of my earlier life; things which to me are as yesterday are to 
them as dreams of the past; they do not know the names, the 
state of things, the occurrences, they have not the associations, 
which are part of my own world, in which I live. And yet I am 
very happy with them, and can truly say with St. Paul, "I 
have all and abound," and, moreover, I have with them, 
what I never can have had with others, Catholic hopes and 
beliefs Catholic objects. And so in your own case, depend 
on it, God's Mercy will make up to you all you lose, and you 
will be blessed, not indeed in the same way, but in a higher. 

' I am sorry I did not tell you any thing about the impres- 
sions I formed of things and persons in my wanderings. If 
any thing takes me to Cheltenham, I will give you an account 
of all I have seen. Everything has been as I could wish it to 
be. I have received most abundant cordial single-hearted 
kindness and have found a great deal to admire and every- 
where the signs of an awful and real system. I was especially 
pleased with Ushaw College, near Durham, with the profes- 
sors and above all the President, Dr. Newsham. The Bishops 
have been especially kind to me, and I think I have made the 
friendship of some of them, as far as it can be done in a day 

or two * 'Ever your affect, friend, 


Dr. Wiseman's offer of Old Oscott was finally accepted, 
and the parting from Littlemore was now imminent. 
' " Obliviscere populum tuum" and "domum patris tui" has 
been in my ears for the last twelve hours/ he wrote to 
Ambrose St. John when all was settled. 'I realise more 
and more that we are leaving Littlemore, and it is like going 
on the open sea. 5 The next month was given to packing 
and preparations for departure. Occasional intercourse with 
friends is recorded in the diary, with the W. G. Wards, Allies, 
David Lewis, and J. B. Morris, and a visit from that re- 
markable woman, Princess E. Galitzin. Ambrose St. John 

1 Isaac Williams was very ill. 


and Stanton went to Oscott on the izth to make all 

Pusey's unconquerable optimism made him wish to see 
and talk with Newman before he left Oxford. More than 
once he begged Newman to come and see him, but the inter- 
views were simply painful 1 

Newman anxiously superintended the packing of his 
beloved books before leaving Littlemore. His letters to 
St. John tell of the painful struggle with the material world 
which the removal involved. 

'Littlemore: February 16, 1846. 

' Carissime, I know perfectly well you are working like a 
Trojan, but I must give you more. 

'We must have all the book boxes emptied by Monday. 
Boswell cannot come till Tuesday morning, and then he is 
to unpack in a day, a sad Shrove Tuesday. He begins at 8. 

( Stanton must write to Walker to come on Monday. 
I shall bring C. Woodmason with me. Then we shall be 
eight. You, I, Stanton, J. Morris, Walker, Bowles, C. W. 
and Montgomery besides Boswell and his man. We must 
work simultaneously at different boxes; and relieve each 
other. Boswell thinks it will last from 8 to 4. He brings 
7^ tons. I have been packing here from morning to night 
these three days. You may think what a whirl I and Bowles 
are in. Knox has come Pusey was here to-day. . . . 

'Pusey's visit has made me very sad. How right I was 
in saying it was better not to meet! He urged me to call on 
him on Sunday evening. 

'I think we need not begin our rule of silence till the first 
week of Lent, but just as you will. 

C I shall delay accepting Dalgairns' invitation (to M. 
Lorain's at Langres). I am afraid I shall have too many 
engagements and obligations on me. They only dissipate me. 

1 * Poor Pusey cannot understand/ Ambrose St. John writes after one of them, 
c what to me seemed most natural. It is nothing more or less than your most 
naturally grave way of speaking when we both called there together. To me I 
assure you your manner was so much what I should have expected that any other 
would have been forced and unnatural. But poor P. seems to have felt differently, 
for he told Upton Richards that you " came upon him very unexpectedly and 
spoke to him very sharply, " he seems to have felt something or other very keenly, 
for Richards used his words as argument to dissuade Morris from joining the 
Church, and as a proof of a change of $<hs in you, I suppose. The truth is, I 
believe, Pusey realised in that visit the death of any hopes he may have indulged 
in, of your falling in with his unhappy theory of branches in the same vineyard, 1 

LAST DAYS AT LITTLEMORE (1845-1846) 115 

The other day I declined Mr. Whitty's offer to join the Con- 
fraternity of the Sacred Heart on that ground. I want a little 
peace. These things are exciting. The very remembering 
them is a trial/ 

' February 17, 1846. 

'Your packing, Carissime, is nothing to mine. I am 
burning and packing pari passu reading and disposing, 
passing from a metaphysical MS. to a lump of resin or a 

' Littlemore: February 19, 1846. 

'My dear St. John, You wrote in such a hurry that you 
could not tell me, else I should like to have known whether 
the books got safe. First I fancy you would have told me, 
if there had been any mischance, and next that you have not 
told me lest it should annoy me. Perhaps you had not time 
to observe but I, like David, instead of listening to the news 
of your general success, keep asking, "Is the young man safe? 
is Absalom alive?" 

'Stanton or you have carried off the closet key, and but 
for my own private key we should have been tealess, wineless, 
jamless. Just before you went, when I came in to breakfast, 
I saw a key on a plate, which I seized with much secret com- 
mendation of your or Stanton's thoughtfulness, but it turns 
out to be the key of Bowles's box who, I believe, had lost it, 
and is much puzzled to make out how it got there. 

1 1 think we shall have a harvest of conversions after Lent, 
but do not repeat it. I would suggest the propriety of our 
having some prayers through Lent on the subject. . . . 
Lewis yesterday gave us the news, from a person not a gossip, 
that Pusey's whole nunnery is moving don't repeat this. 
We have not heard from Knox. Bishop Sam has (at the 
Bishop of London's instance) taken to task Chepnell of St. 
Peter le Baily for speaking in praise of the Blessed Virgin: he 
has defended himself by Bishop Solly. This was on Thurs- 
day last nothing more has occurred. If Pusey is in that 
distress about his nunnery, I doubt whether I shall say to 
him what I had intended. It will be striking the raw.' 

One by one his friends left Littlemore for Oscott to 
make all ready. He writes on February 15 to Mrs. William 

' . . . Part of us are gone part going I shall, I suppose, 
remain the last, as I came in first. A happy time indeed 
have I had here, happy to look back on, though suspense 


and waiting are dreary in themselves; happy, because it is 
the only place perhaps I ever lived in, which I can look back 
on, without an evil conscience. In Oxford indeed, where I 
have been near 30 years from first to last, I trust I have all 
along served God from the day I went there but in those 
many years, amid the waywardness and weakness of youth 
and the turmoil of business, of course many things must have 
occurred to leave sad thoughts on the memory. Nay even my 
responsibilities at St. Mary's, as one who had the care of souls, 
have always all along weighed most oppressively on me and do 
still. Alas, I will not speak against my circumstances, when 
my own personal fault is so great. Yet how dreadful is a cure 
of souls in the English Church, an engagement, with no ?neans 
to carry it into effect a Jewish yoke! Oxford then is not to me 
in the 20 to 30 years 1 have been there more or less, what Little- 
more has been for 4 or 6. Doubtless if my life here for these 
last years were placed in the light of God's countenance, it 
would be like a room when a sunbeam comes into it, full of 
hidden unknown impurities but still I look back to it as a 
very soothing happy period. I came into this house by myself, 
and for nights was the sole person here, except Almighty God 
Himself, my Judge; and St. Francis's u Deus meus et omnia," 
was ever and spontaneously on my lips. And now, so be it, 
I shall go out of it by myself, having found rest. 7 

February 22 saw the final parting from Littlemore and 
Oxford. Left alone, he writes on his last evening, his forty- 
fifth birthday (February 21), to Henry Wilberforce: 

'I am here to-day by myself all my friends gone- and 
the books. Tomorrow I leave here, for dinner at the Observa- 
tory, where I sleep. On Monday morning I go off for Oscott, 

'I have had a very trying time, parting with the people, 
I came into this bower by myself I quit it by myself. Very 
happy times have I had here, (though in such doubt) and I 
am loth to leave it. Perhaps I shall never have quiet again 
Shall I ever see Littlemore again? 7 

The end is thus chronicled in the diary: 

* Feb. 22. Went to mass at St. Clement's for last time 
with C. Woodmason. Fly came for me and my luggage 
at four o'clock to take me to Johnson's, where I dined with 
Lewis, Buckle, Copeland and Bowles, who came from 
Hendred. Church and Pattison came in the evening. 

LAST DAYS AT LITTLEMORE (1845-1846) 117 

Called on Ogle. Pusey came up to Johnson's late at night to 
see me. 

'Feb. 23. Went off by 8| o'clock with Bowles for Mary- 
vale via Leamington. Got there before 5 o'clock. St. John, 
missed us in Birmingham. Walker came. Thus we were six 
St. John, J. Morris, Stanton, I, Bowles, Walker/ 

To W. J. Copeland, his curate at Littlemore, he wrote thus 
of his final leave-taking : 

f l quite tore myself away, and could not help kissing my 
bed, and mantelpiece, and other parts of the house. I have 
been most happy there, though in a state of suspense. And 
there it has been that I have both been taught my way and 
received an answer to my prayers. Without having any plan 
or shadow of a view on the subject, I cannot help thinking 
I shall one day see Littlemore again, and see its dear inhab- 
itants, including yourself, once again one with me in the 
bosom of the true fold of Christ.' 

We know from the ' Apologia ' all that the final severance 
from Oxford cost him. May we believe that he has described 
that last morning in Reding's parting from Oxford in 'Loss 
and Gain'? 

'The morning was frosty, and there was a mist; the 
leaves flitted about; all was in unison with the state of his 
feelings. He re-entered the monastic buildings, meeting 
with nothing but scouts with boxes of cinders, and old women 
carrying off the remains of the kitchen. He crossed to the 
Meadow, and walked steadily down to the junction of the 
Cherwell with the Isis; he then turned back. What thoughts 
came upon him! for the last time! There was no one to see 
him; he threw his arms round the willows so dear to him, 
and kissed them; he tore off some of their black leaves and 
put them in his bosom. " I am like Undine," he said, "killing 
with a kiss." ' 

The tenderness of his feelings at this moment poured itself 
out as it did so rarely in the first letter written from his new 
home again to Henry Wilberforce: 

* February 26, 1846. 

'Carissime, I write my first letter from my new home 
to you. Pusey is my oldest friend since dear J. W. Bjpwden] 
was taken away you come next. I am going to write to 
him, and had got out my paper, but somehow my fingers 


have slipt away with my purpose, and I write to you, who 
have been so faithful to me. No one can be truer or more 
faithful to me than Pusey himself but Aristotle says some- 
thing about our hearts going more with those younger than 
ourselves than with others; and of those who in any sense 
have been providentially placed under me you alone have been 
affectionate to me. And that is the reason perhaps I love 
St. John so much because he comes from you and from your 
teaching. Oh that he might be a pledge to me that you are 
yourself to repair that breach which you sorrow over, by 
your doing what he has done but I say the above whatever 
you resolve upon, Carissime, great indeed as must be my 
distress, as well as yours, while we are divided. 

l l am writing next room to the Chapel. It is such an 
incomprehensible blessing to have Christ's bodily presence 
in one's house, within one's walls, as swallows up all other 
privileges and destroys, or should destroy, every pain. To 
know that He is close by to be able again and again through 
the day to go in to Him; and be sure, my dearest W., when 
I am thus in His Presence you are not forgotten. It is the 
place for intercession surely, where the Blessed Sacrament is. 
Thus Abraham, our father, pleaded before his hidden Lord and 
God in the valley. 

'My last morning at Littlemore, when I was by myself, 
the call of Abraham, as you know in the English service, was 
the subject of the lesson and when I got here the first office 
was that of St. Matthias, who took his place in the Apostolate 
later than his brethren. 

'I have brought here your little reading-desk which was 
Wood's. I had not the heart to let it remain behind. 
(You should not have lost it, if it had.) It formed part of the 
altar on which Father Dominic offered Mass, and from which 
I received my first communion, last nth of October. 

'Please come and fetch it I can't help saying so excuse 
this importunate letter, and believe me, 

'Ever yours most affectionately, 

J. H. N.' 


MARYVALE (1846) 

OLD Oscott had a long history and traditions. It was on the 
site of a Catholic mission existing in the seventeenth century, 
A secluded site in a valley away from the public road was 
purposely chosen in those days of persecution. Its priest, 
Mr. Andrew Bromwich, was condemned to death during the 
Titus Gates scare, but contrived to elude the sentence. The 
house in which Newman and his friends now found them- 
selves had been built by Bishop Hornyold in 1752 as a resi- 
dence for the Vicars Apostolic. When the French Revolution 
drove the Catholic Colleges on the Continent back to 
England in 1794, a school was established in this building. 
Its governing body were some of those laymen of Cisalpine 
opinions, who gave the Bishops so much trouble at that time. 
But in 1808 its fortunes had declined and it was taken over 
by the great foe of the Cisalpines, Dr. Milner, who had 
become Vicar Apostolic of the district. He dedicated it on 
August 15 to Our Lady, and himself resided there for a con- 
siderable part of each year. His whole influence, both in 
the school and among English Catholics at large, was (I need 
hardly say) in the direction of promoting loyalty to Rome 
and rekindling the zeal and piety of a community which 
had become worn out by the penal laws and was too much 
disposed to a policy of compromise with their Protestant 
neighbours. Both for Milner and for his successor as Presi- 
dent of the college, Dr. Weedall, Newman had a great admira- 
tion. The former he is said to have called 'the English 
Athanasius.' Of Dr. Weedall he spoke in the memorable ser- 
mon at his funeral in I8S9- 1 'Through the whole man,' he 
said, 'shone the spirit of evangelical charity, which made his 

1 Published in the volume of Occasional Sermons. 


gentleness and refinement seem what they really were, a^growth 
from or a graft upon, that pure harmony of soul which is a 
supernatural gift. 7 

In 1838 Dr. Weedall had completed the new buildings 
the present college of Oscott. And from that time onwards 
Old Oscott ceased to be more than an appendage to the col- 
lege until Newman entered it. Now to this ancient home of 
piety in the Oscott valley, dedicated by Milner to St. Mary, 
the Oxford converts gave the name of 'Maryvale.' 

The day after Newman's arrival, George Talbot after- 
wards so well known as Monsignor Talbot and the intimate 
friend of Pius IX. and Henry Formby came over from New 
Oscott to see him. On the following day he walked up with 
St. John in the afternoon to visit Bishop Wiseman. The 
succeeding days were spent in getting the household in order. 
'I am beginning BeHarmine/ writes St. John to Dalgairns, 
'with my head full of pea soup, roly-polies and ribs of beef, 
and puzzling my brain all the morning to make a stupid 
jack turn.' Soon, however, the regular life of Littlemore 
was resumed, though the rules given by Father Dominic 
gave place to fresh ones drawn up by Bishop Wiseman. 
The little community consisted of eight persons Newman, 
St. John, Stanton, J. B. Morris, Formby, Walker, Christie, 
and Penny. Charles Woodmason joined them a few days 

'Day begins at five/ St. John continues, 'Newman 
ringing the bell, which office the Bishop has given him 
together with seeing that all the rooms are in decent order 
by 10 o'clock. Mass at 7. Prime and Tierce at a quarter 
to eight. Breakfast quarter past eight. Sext and None 
quarter past twelve, a Latin Conference half past twelve to 
one; quarter past one dinner; silence ends with a visit to 
the Blessed Sacrament after dinner; and begins again at 6, 
with Vespers and Complinethen tea. Rosary or Litany 
half past eight, Matins quarter to nine; bed. Moreover 
Newman has formed a choir, consisting of Walker, Bowles, 
Stanton, Christie, C. Woodmason. The rest of us form the 
awkward squad. But we have not been able to get Benedic- 
tion yet. The Kbrary at last is in order except a few shelves; 
the great room and the small adjoining one hold all, but 
some of the books are up awfully high. Newman grumbles 

MARYVALE (1846) 121 

uncommonly, but what was to be done? The floor would 
not bear projecting bookcases like the Bodleian; and there 
was no alternative without expensive alterations. The 
large bookcases from Littlemore have been heightened and 
the rest are new; altogether the house looks very much 
improved inside. It is strikingly like the Sandford paper 
mills without. So much for our habitation. It only remains 
to say that nothing can be kinder than the Bishop is towards 
us, and I think we all rejoice that Providence has put us in 
the way of such a director. 3 

Both Dr. Wiseman and Spencer Northcote urged New- 
man at this time to take advantage of the general at- 
tention concentrated on the converts and to write a succinct 
account of his reasons for becoming a Catholic. The essay 
on l Development ? was being widely read. People were 
asking questions and raising objections to its argument on 
behalf of the Church. One inquirer had been communicat- 
ing his own objections to Northcote, who passed them on to 

Newman, who ever felt the impossibility of recording ade- 
quately the growth and advance of a living mind, declined in 
a letter to Northcote the proposal that he should write any 
such controversial document as was suggested. 

' February, 1846. 

'My dear Northcote, It is unreasonable in anyone to 
object that the grounds a person gives for his conversion 
cannot be expressed in a formula, but require some little 
time and consideration to master; which seems to be your 
correspondent's complaint of my volume. If I could express 
them in a formula, they would not really be the more intel- 
ligible or comprehensible indeed to show this as a general 
principle is the main object of the Essay. Catholicism is a 
deep matter you cannot take it up in a teacup. 

'Any dogmatic or sententious proposition would too 
surely be misunderstood. If I said, for instance, "I have 
become a Catholic, because I must be either a Catholic or an 
infidel/' men would cry out "So he has flung himself into the 
Catholic Church to escape infidelity," whereas I should only 
mean that Catholicism and Christianity had in my mind 
become identical, so that to give up the one was to give up 
the other. 

'I do not know how to do justice to my reasons for 


becoming a Catholic in ever so many words but if I at- 
tempted to do so in few, and that in print, I should wantonly 
expose myself and my cause to the hasty and prejudiced 
criticisms of opponents. This I will not do. People shall not 
say "We have now got his reasons, and know their worth. 7 ' 
No, you have not got them, you cannot get them, except 
at the cost of some portion of the trouble I have been at 
myself. You cannot buy them for a crown piece you can- 
not take them in your hand at your will, and toss them about. 
You must consent to think and you must exercise such 
resignation to the Divine Hand which leads you, as to follow 
it any whither. I am not assuming that my reasons are 
sufficient or unanswerable, when I say this but describing 
the way in which alone our intellect can be successfully exer- 
cised on the great subject in question, if the intellect is to 
be the instrument of conversion. Moral proofs are grown 
into, not learnt by heart. 

' I wish however to say something in answer to your friend's 
question let me refer then to p. 138 of my Essay, where I state 
my conviction that were St. Athanasius and St. Ambrose now 
to come to Oxford, they would go to Mass at St. Clement's. 

'And in proof of this position, I should refer to Chs. IV 
and V, pp. 204-317, which your correspondent might read 
without troubling himself with the rest of the Essay. The 
argument of those chapters is this: that the general type of 
Christendom, and the relation of part with part, in early 
times and in the present is one and the same that the 
Catholic Church and sects and heresies then, correspond to 
the Roman, Protestant, and other communions nowand in 
particular that the Angelican Church corresponds to the 
Semi-Arian body, or the Nestorian, or the Monophysite. 

'With kind remembrances to your circle, I am 
Very sincerely yours, 


In the months that then ensued Newman put aside all 
controversial writing and set himself to learn the ways and 
traditions of his new Communion, and to help his little 
community at Maryvale to prepare for the ministry. He 
himself, after a brief hesitation, determined to take Orders. 
I have found no full explanation of the scruples on this subject 
to which he alludes, but that they did not last long is shown 
by the fact that he received minor orders in May. Hardly 
any subject is referred to in the letters of these months 

MARYVALE (1846) 123 

except the practical prospects of the community for the 
future. A visit to Maryvale in July from his brother, Frank 
Newman, is regarded as a gratuitous intrusion interrupting 
the new life. 

'My brother is coming to see me at Maryvale/ Newman 
writes to St. John from London on July n ; * I saw him yester- 
day. Why should he come? I think he has some obscure 
idea about thumb-screws.' 

On June 8 came news of Gregory XVL's death, and 
early in July the new Pope, Pius IX., sent Newman a special 

Two alternative plans for the future seem for a time to 
have contended for the mastery. Father Dominic wished 
Newman and his friends to be 'preachers, missionaries, 
martyrs. 7 On the other hand, Wiseman's idea that they 
should use their special gifts in contending with modern 
infidelity gradually took shape in Newman's mind not as 
the prospect of mere literary work, which he ever regarded as 
unsatisfactory, but as a scheme for founding a school of 
divinity even for teaching theology to the future English 
priests. His own laborious searches into theological his- 
tory in connection with the Essay on Development' made 
him sensitive to a certain neglect of the historical side of 
theology the study of the early sources of the existing dog- 
matic theology in the Catholic schools of the time. 1 The 
story of the living Church, and of the actual working of faith 
through the ages, was ever Newman's sohitur ambulando of 
the puzzles raised by anti-religious philosophy. This was 
one of the morals pointed by his famous Essay. He held that 
dogmatic theology, fully realised in its history and genesis, as 
the outcome of Christian faith and Christian thought in con- 
tact with successive phases of intellectual civilisation, might 

1 He expressed this feeling in a letter to Wiseman in the following year. Even 
in Rome he did not find what he wanted in this respect. Wiseman owned to a 
certain deficiency. *I did not much anticipate,' he wrote, 'your finding the 
cast of theological learning to which your own habits of study have accus- 
tomed you. . . . Perhaps m Graziosi you would have found a Professor 
who if he had not gone much to the sources of dogmatic theology had well 
mastered the streams that flow from them. . . . This was the character of 
many professors whom I knew. But I fear there is a falling off even from 
this by what you write.' 


be a power both, for Christianity and for Catholicism which it 
had not been yet. He even conceived the possibility of Mary- 
vale being the training ground of the divinity students, or 
i divines' as they were called, for the whole of England. The 
cordiality of his reception at the various colleges, and the 
evident respect for Oxford learning on the part of the ablest 
of the hereditary Catholics, made such an idea appear not 
too ambitious, though of course the neophytes expected to 
have the aid of some one already grounded in the theology of 
the schools. 

The ' Friars preachers 7 founded by St. Dominic and made 
illustrious in the schools by St. Thomas Aquinas were by 
their history marked out for such a work, and the suggestion 
was discussed that Newman and his friends should become 

A full letter to Dalgairns dated July 6 opens with an 
account of Newman's trials in giving up the old Oxford 
swallow-tail coat and choker for a Roman collar and the long 
skirts of the Catholic clerical costume. He writes from the 
rooms of Mr. David Lewis, in London, whither he had been 
called by the widow of J. W. Bowden, the dear friend of his 
undergraduate days, who was on the point of becoming a 

'Mrs. Bowden has summoned me up here and that I 
may not waste some hours while she goes down to her boy 
at Eton, I attempt to write to you a letter. My dislike of 
marching up the London streets is considerable, not indeed 
that I have any reluctance to wear a clerical dress, for I 
need not unless I had wished it, but I am so awkward and 
gawky that I feel ashamed of myself. The only make up 
is that the poor Catholics recognise it us I go along and 
touch their hats to me; but fancy me, who have never been 
in costume, wearing a straight cut collar to my coat, and 
having a long skirt to it. I know I look like a fool, from my 
own great intrinsic absurdity/ 

He passes in the letter to the subject of future plans, and 
suggests definitely that Dr. Wiseman ought to transfer the 
divinity school from Oscott to Maryvale, and that he and 
his friends should be Dominicans. Then he states the 
objections to his scheme. Is not the Dominican Order 4 a 

MARYVALE (1846) 125 

great idea extinct 7 ? Are not the Jesuits 'the fashion of the 

'Thus you see/ he continues, 'I see nothing, except that 
the notion of a theological school is a great idea and natural, 
not only from our hitherto line of reading, but because the 
Rosminians . . . are fast spreading themselves, as givers of 
retreats and missions, all over England. I have been thinking 
lately of an institution having the express object of propaga- 
ting the faith (the Dominican object) and opposing heresy 
whether by teaching, preaching, controversy, catechising &c. 
&c. But then comes the question whether this would not be 
very bad policy in this age. An indifferent age will admit 
Catholicism if it comes under the garb of utility, as making 
people good subjects, or as claiming protection from its being 
the religion of a large party but, when you beat the pulpit 
cushion and rouse the "odium theologicum" you will have 
statesmen against you. Else, I sketched out the first outlines 
of a community under the patronage of St. Mary "quae sola 
interemisti &c." with the object of first recognising, second 
defending, the Mysteries of Faith. And now I have come to 
the end of my say, and am "incertior multo quam ante" as 
Demipho in the play.' 

The comments of Bowles and St. John on the suggestion 
of joining the Dominicans which was communicated to them 
by Dalgairns were not favourable. 

'For my part/ writes Bowles to Ambrose St. John, 'I 
would sooner be a Jesuit. I have no fancy for that no meat 
diet, and eight months' fasting you talk about. And how do 
you think you would stand all that hard head work, living 
on nothing but air? "Nous avons change tout cela," said 
Newman, and I think he is right.' 

St. John in a letter to Dalgairns discourages the discussion 
from another point of view: 

'I can't help thinking that all our schemes now are little 
more than castles in the air, for I am sure Newman will do 
just what he is told in Rome and nothing else. If he is 
given to understand he is to be a secular, a secular he will be; 
whether his line is to be Divinity or Missions will be decided 
for him.' 

Another letter from Newman to Dalgairns shows that 
St. John is right. 'Our plans are altering or modifying/ he 


writes, and the visit to Rome is the immediate prospect. For 
a moment the Collegio Nobik was thought of as a suitable 
habitat, but ultimately Propaganda was decided on. 

'At present I am sanguine about my going to Rome/ 
he continues. 'My only fear is they are expecting too 
much of me. Cardinal Franzoni took particular interest in 
my having the crucifix. He sent back the first that was 
brought him, as not pleasing him. The new Pope has sent 
me his blessing, and I hear that the last thing he was speak- 
ing of before going into conclave was about Dr. Wiseman and 
me. Dr. Wiseman's credit has risen at Rome much in conse- 
quence of our conversions. ... It would be a nice plan of John 
Bowden to come here with Lewis. He is hard beset, poor boy. 
Johnson (who is not himself for grief), Henry Bowden and 
Church &c. &c. all on him, telling him his father would not 
have changed &c., and then his love of Eton and Oxford all 
on one side and his mother and sister on the other.' 

Meanwhile Mrs. Bowden had, to his great joy, been 
c received' into the Church not however by Newman 
himself or one of the Oxford converts, but by a venerable 
link with the old Douai College, which was dissolved at 
the Revolution. The meeting on the occasion between the 
Oxford leader and the Douai priest is described by 

Newman himself: 

'17 Grosvenor Place: July 8, 1846. 

'My dear St. John, Mrs. Bowden was received this 
morning. u Deo gratias." I have said not a word, till I 
could say all. The three younger children will be received 
in due course meanwhile no one will know that they are 
not received, for they will go to Mass with her. I think 1 
shall take up my abode here for several days (hitherto I have 
been at Lewis's) and shall not return at soonest till Monday 
next, though I have no wardrobe and no money. 

'The Bishop, on whom I called about her on Saturday, 
was going out of town for a week on Monday. He had sent 
me to Mr. Wilds for confession, and I was so much pleased 
with him, that she made up her mind to go to him. 

( Do you know who Mr. Wilds is? an old man of 8o~ 
a Douay priest, with his senses quite his own, and apparently 
as sharp as the President of Magdalen. He had been five 
hours in the Confessional when I went to him, and I was 
ashamed to give him more trouble. When I rose to go ? 1 

MARYVALE (1846) 127 

said " Perhaps, Sir, you would like to know my name my 
name is Newman." " No/ 7 he said " go, I don't want to 
know your name goodbye," By degrees he comprehended 
who it was and then his joy was quite great he wanted to 
put me in his own arm-chair he wanted me to dine with 
him and he would have a gossip with me which he had. 
When I told all this to Mrs. Bowden (the Bishop being away) 
she determined to see Mr. Wilds, 

C 0n Monday, she went down to Eton to her son, without 
a knowledge of whose mind she did not like for many reasons 
to move on Tuesday I introduced her to Mr. Wilds, and 
he appointed next day (to-day) for her admission. She has 
been received accordingly and to-morrow is conditionally 
baptised and sacramentally absolved. She takes her first 
communion on Friday at eight. . . . 

' Send on my letters here thanks for yours I had a walk 
in the streets yesterday with Talbot, who to his or my shame 
had no Roman collar on. It discomforted me a good deal, and 
made me a most dull companion. What a fool I am.' 

Newman had been especially eager that Mrs. Bowden, 
and a few other close friends of whom he felt quite sure that 
they would ultimately follow him, should come without delay. 
The world was already reporting him to be dissatisfied with 
his change. For what the world said Newman cared very 
little. He did deeply care that those who had been for years 
closely associated with him should now share his hopes and 
plans and the blessings he found in the Catholic Church. 
He trusted that they might all be united before he left Eng- 
land for Rome, to begin what might form a new chapter 
in his life. Foremost among those for whose reception he 
longed was Henry Wilberforce. Another was George Dudley 
Ryder, to whose little son Lisle 1 he had stood godfather. 
The two were associated in his mind, for they were near con- 
nections, having married sisters. 2 And six weeks before Mrs. 
Bowden's reception the welcome news had come from Ryder's 
cousin, Mr. Lisle Phillipps, that he and Mrs. Ryder and their 
children, who were staying at Rome, had been received. 
This was his first Catholic godson. Newman wrote at once 
to give his friend joy: 

1 Afterwards Sir George Lisle Ryder, K.C.B. 

2 The Miss Sargents, sisters of Mrs. Manning and Mrs. Samuel Wilberforce. 


'St. Mary's Vale, Perry Bar, Birmingham: May 22, 1846. 

'My dear George Ryder, What great joy your letter 
gave me, and I hear this morning from Mr. Phillipps more 
about you and yours. I cannot tell you better how I felt than 
by describing St. John who was with me when the news came 
both times. When he heard about you he coloured up from 
joy when he heard this morning of your wife and the 
rest, he turned pale and went at once to the chapel. I am 
an old fellow, and have not keen feelings, but yet mutatis 
mutandis I felt as much as he. To think that I have a 
godson a Catholic he is the first of them. I do trust others 
will follow. 

' And now I have said nearly all I have to say, for your 
news swallows up everything else. How I long to see you! 
you are to be out for a year longer but I will whisper you a 
secret perhaps I shall be in Rome in July. If so, I shall 
stop there a year, but I shall be kept tight, I suspect and 
shall not see much of friends. Yet it will be a great thing to 
see you at all. 

'We are getting settled here but the house is a large one, 
and is not fully furnished yet. The book-cases have been a 
great job. 

'We are beginning to read divinity and make syllogisms. 
Only fancy my returning to school at my age. 

'I will give my warmest congratulations to your wife, 
whether she recollects seeing me once, or not, some ten years 
ago. I think it must be ten years and more. 

'Ever yours very affectionately, 


Newman could not but hope that George Ryder's step 
would help to bring Henry Wilberforce, to whom he wrote 
of this news on May 29: 

'It would be hypocrisy in me not to confess the joy I 
felt at hearing that I had a godson a Catholic my first 
Catholic godson. that they were all Catholics may those 
I have seen, as well as those I have never seen, be such. Never 
will I cease to pray that they may one day be Catholics may 
my prayers be a spell over them, though they know it not. I 
say, I cannot deny the joy it gave me to hear about Lisle 
Ryder, for I suppose he is one of the converts. But then 
I did not forget the pain which they must feel, the intense 
perplexity, who had the task of separating cousins who had 
been accustomed to play together and had formed more 

MAR YV ALE (1846) 129 

or less one family. Poor George and his wife have this pain too, 
as well as you. that all had his reward, his compensation/ 

Henry Wilberforce tarried awhile, although Newman 
wrote him at this time some of the most insistent letters on 
the claims of the Catholic and Roman Church which are to 
be found in his correspondence. From these I make a few 
extracts : 

*St. Mary's Vale, Perry Bar, Birmingham: June 25th, '46. 

'It is very difficult for one like myself to put himself 
in the position of a person, believing indeed in one Catholic 
organised Church or Kingdom, yet believing also that 
it consists of various separate governments and polities, 
quite independent of one another. I do not date my con- 
viction on this subject from October last: for years it has 
seemed to me a mere absurdity to say e.g. " England and the 
United States are one kingdom because they came of 
common ancestors" and I have kept my conviction under, 
only from the notion that my sins might have brought upon 
me some extreme delusion, or some abuse of intellect, of 
which I was not conscious, might have judicially inflicted 
on me captivity to some sophism, which others could see 
through moreover from deference to the authority of such 
names as Hammond's or Ken's, I said "Is it possible I should 
be out of the Church? it is so strange; yet it is so clear; 
well, perhaps the very clearness shows there is some fallacy 
in the proof of it. I will wait to see what comes of it." I 
waited then to see, whether, like some big bright bubble, 
it would burst, or would prove itself a divine direction by 
remaining. It has borne the trial; and now in consequence, 
when I have at length recognised and obeyed it, it acts as 
a long habitual conviction, not one of yesterday; and it 
is to me utterly marvellous how a person of your clear intel- 
lect can seduce himself into the notion that a portion of 
Christendom, which has lain disowned on all hands, by East 
as well as West, for three hundred years, and is a part of no 
existing communion whatever, but a whole in itself, is never- 
theless a portion of some other existing visible body, nay 
of two other existing visible bodies, Greek and Latin. The 
Siamese twins are nothing to this portent; yet we com- 
monly account even them monsters and not men; but here 
you have two separate organised frames or persons having a 
limb in common, and that limb a part of neither, yet two 
bodies and separate limbs all together one and but one body; 
VOL. i. F 


all which is a sort of bad dream, and recalls the specimens 
of extravagant Yankee humour which we see in newspapers. 
Excuse me, carissime, I do not write thus broadly to 
everyone; many would call me irreverent; but is it not 
so as I say? Is it not better to give up at once the notion 
of one Visible Church than thus to impose such a burden 
on one's understanding? Is it not a mockery to pretend to 
the doctrine? Is any Unitarian evasion of a sacred truth a 

Newman gradually realised that mere argument would not 
as yet bring his friend to the Catholic Church. One of his 
letters reads as though he came to look for the causes of Henry 
Wilberforce's continued delay in general considerations rather 
than in theological reasons: 

4 Mary vale, Perry Bar: Aug. ist, 1846. 

C I don't like your letter just received at all. You read 
AUies's book but not mine, till I put you upon it. I expect 
no good from your reading it. 

'As to your talking of your dread of my influence, and the 
necessity of guarding against my influence, I have always 
thought it a piece of nauseous humbug though I have said 
nothingand In this letter you seem to confess it. The 
question is, have I a grain of influence, as J, to make you 
mom? not at all. But it is very uncomfortable for you to 
have views put before you ? which, though they do not at all 
tend to make you act, are, to your reason, a grave perplexity 
with your professed creed. I doubt whether you have a 
creed now I don't know what you believe. I don't think 
you can say. Is this a right state? . . Is it a state to live 
and die in? 

'I say you confess your dread of my influence is humbug, 
because you say u As long as Pusey, Keble, and all are un- 
shaken I shall feel the difficulties of moving much greatest." 
What is the good then of pretending to examine? What is 
the good of giving me your reasons? What is the good of 
talking about my influence? please, never talk of my influ- 
ence again we are agreed both, that it is nothing. Nor did it 
ever come into my head to be pained that it was nothing in 
yours any more than in many other cases* 

f I never knew when I wrote the article what Keble thought 
of the conversions else I would not have said what I did. 
But I think it cruelly unjust think of Capes giving up some 
10,000 and his brother 1,500 a year, Marshall leaving the 

MARYVALE (1846) 131 

country with his wife for want Glenny sweeping his house 
with a sick wife and no servant think of Thompson, 
Northcote, the Pooles, &c. &c, I really don't know what is 
meant. All that can be said, i.e. all that an enemy can say, is 
that Faber and Oakeley have acted either under excitement, 
or to and fro, or might have acted better. Faber's giving up 
a good living goes for nothing. And he has been wretchedly 
slandered in Oxford.' 1 

New ties and interests did not prevent Pusey's illness at 
this time from being a great grief and anxiety, and Newman 
went at once to Tenby and saw him for some hours, 

Pusey recovered, and the friends continued to correspond 
at intervals. But experience had now made it clear to New- 
man that there was little but pain to be looked for from per- 
sonal intercourse. They did not meet again for some twenty 

The rest of August was spent in preparations for the 
journey to Rome. Ambrose St. John was to accompany 
Newman. It was ultimately decided that they were to go 
to the ' Collegio di Propaganda/ and they were not deterred 
by the almost laughably uncompromising account of the 
strictness of its rule given by Dr. Fergusson, an old Roman 
student, which Newman records in a letter to St. John: 

'I had a long talk with Dr. Fergusson about Propaganda, 
and you will all laugh at his information. I don't mind your 
knowing it but I should not like it to get beyond our own 
brotherhood. Above all, don't tell Faber. 

'He gave me a minute description of the day there. 

1 Of the severity of this letter Newman half repented, and he wrote to say so: 

'Maryvale, Aug. 3rd, 1846. 

'My dearest EL, A fear has come over me lest I should have been severe in 
my last letter, I dare say I may have worded what I said unkindly and have 
hurt you; if so, I am very sorry. 

I write to ask you a question which I forgot. What is George Ryder's 

'You know of course how ill dear Pusey is I only heard yesterday afternoon 
I have offered to go to him if he wishes it. 

'Ever yours affly., 

J. H. N. J 


Every quarter of an hour has its work, and is measured out 
by rule. It is a Jesuit retreat continued through the year. 
You get up at half past five, having slept (by compulsion) 
seven and a half hours, at quarter to six you run into the 
passage and kneel down for the Angelus. Then you finish 
your dressing. At six you begin to meditate the prefect 
going up and down and seeing you are at your work. Three 
minutes off the half hour a bell rings for the colloquium. At 
the half hour (half past six) mass which every one attends 
in surplice. Seven breakfast, some bread and some milk and 
(I think) cofiee. Then follow schools at half past eleven 
dinner and so on. A compulsory walk for an hour and a 
half in the course of the day. Recreation an hour after dinner 
and supper but all recreate together no private confabs. 
In like manner no one must enter any other person's room, 
(Corollary. It is no good two friends going to Propaganda.) 
This Corollary is further confirmedviz, the whole body of 
students is divided into eight classes or portions (cameratas?) 
who are never allowed to speak to each other. If you and 
Christie and Penny went, they would of course put you into 
three separate cameratas. 

'Further, your letters are all opened, and you put the 
letters you write into the Rector's hand. To continue you 
must not have any pocket money. You must give up your 
purse to the Rector. If you want to buy anything, you must 
ask him for money. Everything necessary is found for you. 
"Then there is no good/' I asked, "in taking money." "No/ 1 
said Dr. F., "none at all." 

'Next, you may not have clothes of your own the Rector 
takes away coat, trousers, shirts, stockings, &c. &c. and gives 
you some of the Propaganda's. "Then it is no use/' I asked, 
"taking a portmanteau." "No/' said Dr. P., "it is no use. 1 ' 
They give you two cassocks, an old and a new one. It is a 
great object to use up the old clothes. Mr. Eyre (who was 
present) even said, though I suppose it was fun, that they 
gave you old shoes. Why, one might catch the plague, for, 
depend on it, there are Egyptians and Turks there, 

( Yes, they are from all nations except English. Dr, F. said 
there was not a single Englishman all the time he was there. 

'To complete it, he said that I should be kept there 
three years, and that I should have to read Perrone. 

f Meanwhile Talbot assures me that my going there 
gives the greatest satisfaction in London, and you know 
we heard that at Rome they are much pleased also and 

MARYVALE (1846) 133 

that " apartments" have been got ready at Propaganda for 
Dr. Wiseman and me. 

'The only allowance I extracted from Dr. Fergusson 
was that you might have private papers in your writing desk. 
. . . Dr. F. said one thing was provided gratis snuff ad 
libitum and I should be allowed to take a snuffbox/ 

It need hardly be added that Newman did not in the event 
find himself treated like the Propaganda boys, but was offered 
the option of as much freedom as he pleased. On September 
2 Newman went to visit Lord Shrewsbury at Alton Towers 
before his departure for Rome, and met there a large party of 
Catholics. Seven Bishops were in the house Drs. Wiseman, 
Walshe, Gillies, Folding, Griffiths, Waring, and Briggs. Lord 
and Lady Camoys, Lord and Lady Dormer, Mr. Scott 
Murray, Sir E. Vavasour, and Sir E. Throckmorton repre- 
sented the Catholic laity; and the Austrian Ambassador 
and Sardinian Minister, who were among Lord Shewsbury's 
guests, were invited to give Newman any useful hints or 
introductions. Faber and Oakeley were also of the party. 

6 A house full of company/ Newman writes to St. John, 
'and I looking like a fool. Lord Shrewsbury most kind; 
would introduce me to the Austrian Ambassador, out of 
whom Dr. Wiseman and he (Lord S.) tried in vain to get 
some good for us as regards Milan. 

'The Chevalier Dotti, to whom the Pope gave the message 
for me, is here. The message was more definite than I had 
before heard/ 

St. John joined him in London on the 4th. On the 
yth the two friends went to Brighton and thence to Dieppe. 

Newman approached Catholic France and Catholic Italy 
in the spirit which I have already noted as marking the first 
years of his life in his new Communion. The halo of 'the 
blessed vision of peace, 3 of which he speaks at the end of 
the ' Essay on Development,' bathed in its light all manifes- 
tations of Catholic life, feeling, and devotion. Some of his 
letters are like those of a man in love Professor Phillimore 
has used of these years the phrase, 'the honeymoon period' 
for whom every look and action of the woman he loves is 
transfigured. While he was urging his old friends to become 
Catholics, with an eagerness which contrasted with his more 


cautious habit in later years, he threw himself, in the first 
instance, into the current of thought and feeling which he 
found prevalent in Catholic lands. He did so as a matter of 
principle even apart from the feeling I have above referred 
to. 'Converts come, not to criticise, but to learn/ he wrote. 
The more critical attitude, which was natural to him, appears, 
it is true, at times; but it more fully reasserted itself only 
by degrees, as the testing process of fuller experience sifted 
the first impressions he formed. He held, moreover, that 
a discriminating judgment among varieties of taste and 
opinion in the Church was eventually called for in a thought- 
ful Catholic, which was not in place in a neophyte. 1 At the 
time of which I am writing he seems to have feared lest to 
be critical of the devotions or beliefs which came before 
him might be to show a weak faith, and to confirm the preju- 
dices of those who thought that the converts could never 
really enter fully into the religion they had adopted. c God 
keep us,' he wrote to W. G. Ward, 'what I trust we are, 
averse from every opinion, not only which may not be held, 
but which only may be held in matters of doctrine; that, 
in spite of the cruel suspicions of those who think there is 
heresy at the bottom of us, we may submit ourselves, as our 
conscience tells us to do, to the mind of the Church as well as 
to her voice.' 

1 Cf. Letter to Dr. Pusey, p. 19. 


MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 

THE night of the yth was spent at Dieppe, and the next day 
saw Newman and his companion in Paris, whither they 
travelled, taking the diligence as far as Rouen. 

At Paris they were met by Robert Coffin. Notre Dame 
and the Archbishop were visited on the pth and the Nuncio 
on the loth, as well as the Lazarists and the Jesuits, M. Gou- 
don acting as cicerone. On the nth all three set out after a 
visit to Abbe Degenettes at Notre Dame des Victoires for 
Langres, to see Dalgairns. They arrived at M. Lorain's the 
following evening, remaining as his guests. Of their inter- 
course with the clergy at Langres Newman wrote the follow- 
ing account to Frederick Bowles: 

'Langres: Sept. 15 (day of dear Bowden's death), 1846. 

f l had intended to write to you today, and your and 
Christie's most welcome and interesting letters have just come. 
I shall not answer them now, but write on about ourselves. 
How shall I begin? Coffin is still kept here as in a mouse- 
trap, the coaches to Paris being full. He is a great comfort 
to us. We set off at ten to-night if all is well, for Besanfon, 
being uncertain whether we shall thence proceed by way of 
Lausanne or Geneva. . . . Their mode of living [here] is 
marvellous. They have hardly any thing warm, even from 
the beginning of the day to the end but the very pleasant 
but cold Burgundy wines. Then they have greeted us in the 
warmest, most affectionate way we have had state break- 
fasts and dinners every day, consisting of a succession of 
dishes dressed in oil, the very scent of which was enough to 
make one sick one at n A.M., the other at 7 P.M., nothing 
except (in honor of us) the absurdest mockery of tea in 
tiny coffee cups, or some wine and grapes about 9 A.M. and 
nothing between breakfast and dinner. And, to add to it, they 


are in utter astonishment that such fare disagrees with us. It 
was the worse luck to-day, as we had to dine with the Bishop 
at noon and it was of course a dinner given for me, and I had 
to talk Latin to him, being so out of sorts all the morning. I 
rejoice to say, however, it went off very well. It was a very 
elegant dinner and little which I could not eat sherry in 
liqueur glasses (as well as claret and burgundy, which you may 
think I eschewed) and ruin; a poor imitation of English roast 
beef, tough in order to be truly a TAnglaise, and an English 
plum pudding in the guise of a custard pudding with raisins 
and eau de vie sauce. Besides this was the usual run of dishes. 
After dinner he handed me, as a lady, to a sofa in another 
room and my good genius gave me strength for the time to 
talk on as fluently as I could expect. It all went off very 
well Dalgaims said he had never seen the Bishop to such 
advantage. He embraced me on the right and left shoulder, 
as the Archbishop of Paris had done, on parting. . . . 

'The clergy are a merry , simple, affectionate set some 
of them quite touchingly kind and warm-hearted towards me, 
and only one complaining, as I think he did, of English 
heaviness (our stomachs were in fault). At the same time 
their ceremony is most amusing they have never done 
bowing in the most formal manner. St. John has in vain 
asked how often we ought to bow on taking leave and for 
me, who hardly ever made a formal bow in my life, I can 
hardly keep my countenance, as I put my elbows to my hips 
and make a segment of a circle, the lower vertebra being the 
centre and my head the circumference. . . . M. Lamont is 
very cheerful, and talks Latin well, which few of the other 
clergy do. The Dean does, and is a kind warmhearted 
person. There is not a great deal to see here the Gregorians 
at the Cathedral pleased St. John and Coffin very much. . . . 

'The rooms are curiously furnished M. Lamont lodges 
with two ladies, who curtsey as much as the men bow. We 
paid them a formal visit I think in their bedroom, and they 
suddenly caine upon us with M. Lamont to return it in our 
bedroom. Luckily the beds were made, but one of the two 
rooms, (they open into each other) was in sad disorder. The 
bedrooms are all drawing rooms. In mine, in which I am 
writing, there is a profusion of wood a wooden ceiling and 
wainscotting a polished oak floor a very handsome French 
clockbouquets of pretty artificial flowers handsome 
mantelpiece ornaments and per contra not a drawer for my 
clothes, the windows and blinds perishing for want of paint, 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 137 

and a most miserable feather bed which has cost me, added 
to the causes above mentioned, one or two restless nights. 
It is indefinitely a greater penance to lie on a feather bed 
than on the Littlemore straw and I don't see when we shall 
be off the feather bed. 

'There is a very kind, but French account, of my pro- 
ceedings at Paris in the Univers, which I suppose will be 
translated for your edification in the Tablet. M. Goudon is 
the author, doubtless he was most extremely attentive to us. 
He is translating my Essay/ 

After dining with the Bishop, Newman and St. John went 
on to Besan^on at night (Coffin returning to Paris). The 
further route to Milan by Jura, Brigue, the Simplon, and 
Domodossola lasted four days more, and Milan was reached 
on Sunday, the 2oth, in time for Mass at the Duomo. 

A gossiping letter from St. John to Dalgairns tells the 
story of the journey from Langres to Besangon and 

'Milan: Sept. 21, 1846. 

'We got to Besan^on on Wednesday at 12 o'clock and 
found the Archbishop's secretary waiting for us. He insisted 
on taking us to the Archbishop after we had made our 
enquiries about the coaches and found that the diligence for 
Lausanne did not start until the next morning at 5 o'clock. 
I need not tell you how extremely hospitable the Archbishop 
was; how he showed us everything, got us tea directly we 
came in, looked to our rooms himself, took us over the 
Cathedral, and told us everything about it: one thing which 
I think he never could have told you, how that a certain 
chapel opposite the High Altar was set apart for the sacred 
cloth (Sindon) of our Lord: how it was lost in the troubles 
of the French Revolution and the Archbishop has made 
every enquiry for it and never been able to find it. He 
described it as having been of extremely great length, but so 
fine that it was commonly kept in a box less than a foot long. 
After showing us over the Cathedral, the Chaplain took us over 
the town, and very beautiful were the Churches I assure you. 
But, to come to what is more to the point, after all this we 
went to dinner where to our infinite amusement there was 
for "maigre" fare a dish of fricasseed frogs. Oh! for the 
"Record" or the "English Churchman!" I rather think 
Newman relished them, but I am sure it was out of 
obedience that he ate them. After dinner (during which by 


the bye the only language spoken was Latin, which the 
Archbishop spoke more fluently than I ever heard anybody 
speak before) the Archbishop spoke of our prospects, and in 
the course of other matters, I mentioned your fancy for the 
Dominicans. Upon which he expressed himself very strongly 
urging us "to tell you to abide in that station where you are 
called"; and to this advice he added: "I think also I have 
S. Paul on my side. It is the business of all of you to put 
yourselves under your Bishop and to be regulated by him in 
all that you do. 3 ' After this he gave us his blessing and 
accompanied us to our roosts, and then took leave of us. 

'Sept. 22nd. . . . From Besangon we started on Wednes- 
day morning had a most beautiful ride to Lausanne over 
the Jura mountains; Mont Blanc and the Alps all before us 
on our right and opposite the lake of Nettchatel. But I must 
not now describe scenery. ... It was very delightful to find 
a little chapel near the summit [of the Simplon] which we 
entered for a few minutes: there was no light and I think it 
must have been too great a risk to leave the Blessed Sacrament 
there, but still it was very cheering; a little further on nearer 
the top Newman and I stopped at a Crucifix and gained an 
indulgence I hope which was written up in German on the 
cross. The Italian side is more beautiful than the other and 
the descent longer as it seemed, for it was near 4 before we 
got to Domodossola. From Dome we started in an hour's 
time, passed thro' S, Charles's town Arona at mid-night, 
and got to Milan just in time to hear the last mass on 
Sunday morning in the Duomo. 3 

At Milan Newman and St, John tarried between four and 
five weeks. To Newman that town more than any suggested 
the whole picture of the Church of the Fathers. His letters 
from thence speak more simply of peace and happiness than 
any others. Three days after his arrival he writes thus to 
Henry Wilberforce: ,,-.. A 

J 'Milan: Sept. 24, 1846. 

'My dearest H. W. ? We are most happy here. We 
arrived here on Sunday morning in time for Mass and after 
all the troubles of our journey, the heat, the tight con- 
finement in diligences, the dust ; the smoking, the strange 
faces and the uncathoKc bearing of fellow-travellers, and the 
long spells of journeying, night as well as day, and then 
again the discomforts of an hotel, we are quite in harbour. 
An Abbate, to whom Hope gave me an introduction, has got 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) *39 

us most excellent rooms, lofty, cool and quiet in the heart of 
Milan. They form a part of the Priest's house of S. Fidelis, 
and are reserved for the missioners who come to give retreats 
in Lent. We can get into the Church without going into 
the street, so it is like a private Chapel. It belonged to the 
Jesuits before their suppression, having been given to them 
by the great St. Charles, It is like a Jesuit Church, Grecian 
and Palladian and I cannot deny that, however my reason 
may go with Gothic, my heart has ever gone with Grecian. 
I loved Trinity Chapel at Oxford more than any other 
building. There is in the Italian style such a simplicity, 
purity, elegance, beauty, brightness, which I suppose the 
word " classical' 3 implies, that it seems to befit the notion of 
an Angel or Saint. The Gothic style does not seem to me 
to typify the sanctity or innocence of the Blessed Virgin, or 
St. Gabriel, or the lightness, grace, and sweet cheerfulness of 
the elect as the Grecian does. I could go into this beautiful 
Church, with its polished tall pillars, and its smiling winning 
altar, all day long without tiring. And it is so calm . . . 
that it is always a rest to the mind to enter it. Nothing 
moves there but the distant glittering lamp which betokens 
the Presence of Our Undying Life, hidden but ever working, 
though entered into His rest. 

'It is really most wonderful to see the Divine Presence 
looking out almost into the open streets from the various 
Churches so that at St. Lawrence's we saw the people take 
off their hats from the other side of the street as they passed 
along; no one to guard it, but perhaps an old woman who 
sits at work before the Church door, or has some wares to 
sell. And then to go into St. Ambrose's Church where the 
body of the Saint lies and to kneel at those relics, which 
have been so powerful, and whose possessor I have heard and 
read of more than other saints from a boy. It is 30 years this 
very month, as I may say, since God made me religious,^and 
St. Ambrose in Milner's history was one of the first objects 
of niy veneration. And St. Augustine too and^ter^he 
was converted! and here came St. Monica seeking him. 
Here too came the great Athanasius to meet the Emperor 
in his exile. I never had been in a city which moved me 
more not even Rome. I do not know whether it willbut 
I have not the history of Rome enough at my fingers' ends 
to be so intimately affected by it. We shall be here, I sup- 
pose, three weeks, or a monthhow sorry I shall be to go! 

'I have said not a word about that overpowering place, 


the Duomo. It has moved me more than St. Peter's did 
but then I studiously abstained from all services &c. when I 
was at Rome, and now of course I have gone wherever they 
were going on and have entered into them. And, as I have 
said for months past that I never knew what worship was, as 
an objective fact, till I entered the Catholic Church, and was 
partaker in its offices of devotion, so now I say the same on 
the view of its cathedral assemblages. I have expressed 
myself so badly that I doubt if you will understand me, but 
a Catholic Cathedral is a sort of world, every one going 
about his own business, but that business a religious^ one; 
groups of worshippers, and solitary ones- kneeling, standing 
some at shrines, some at altars hearing Mass and com- 
municating, currents of worshippers intercepting and passing 
by each other altar after altar lit up for worship, like stars 
in the firmament or the bell giving notice ^of what is going 
on in parts you do not see, and all the while the canons in 
the choir going through matins and lauds, and at the end of 
it the incense rolling up from the high altar, and all this in 
one of the most wonderful buildings in the world and every 
day lastly, all of this without any show or effort but what 
everyone is used to everyone at his own work, and leaving 
everyone else to his. 

'My best love attend you, your wife and childrenin 
which St. John joins. 

'Ever yours, Carissime, most affectionately, J. H. N. 7 

He writes on the same day to William Goodenough Penny, 
one of the Oxford converts who had joined the community at 
Mary vale: 

'It is always a refreshment to the mind, and elevates it, 
to enter a Church such as St. Fidelis. It has such a sweet, 
smiling, open countenance and the altar is so gracious and 
winning, standing out for all to see, and to approach. The 
tall polished marble columns, the marble rails, the marble 
floor, the bright pictures, all speak the same language. And 
a light dome crowns the whole. Perhaps I do but follow the 
way of elderly persons, who have seen enough that is sad [in] 
life to be able to dispense with officious intentional sadness 
and as the young prefer autumn and the old spring, the 
young tragedy and the old comedy, so in the ceremonial of 
religion, younger men have my leave to prefer Gothic, if they 
will but tolerate me in my weakness which requires the 
Italian. It is so soothing and pleasant, after the hot streets, 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 141 

to go into these delicate yet rich interiors, which are like the 
bowers of paradise or an angel's chamber. We found the same 
in a different way in Paris. It was oppressively hot and we 
wandered through the narrow streets in the evening, seeking 
out the Jesuits' house. When we found it, the Superior was 
out, and we were ushered in, as into a drawing-room, into so 
green and beautiful a garden, with refreshing trees on the 
lawn, and quiet figures stealing along the walks saying their 
office. We entered a trellised walk of vines and seated our- 
selves on a stone bench which lay on the ground. 7 

He continues the letter on September 29: 

'We are pretty well settled here now, and have begun 
with an Italian master today, not that we have been idle 
before. I am as much overcome with this place as I was at 
first. The greatness of St. Carlo is so striking. I have been 
reading good part of his life. He is the very life of this place 
to this day. In spite of all sorts of evils, political and others, 
in spite of infidelity and the bad spirit of the day, there is 
an intense devotion to San Carlo. And the discipline of the 
clergy is sustained by his regulations in a more exact state 
than we found it even in France or than it is at Rome. He 
was made Archbishop, as you know, when a young man, by 
the Pope his uncle there had not been a Bishop appointed 
for eighty years, and the place was in a frightful state of 
disorder. For twenty years he laboured here with the zeal 
which is so well known in the history of the Church, and car- 
ried out and exemplified the reforms laid down at Trent. 
Well, when he was in the midst of his labour, he was taken 
off, by his excessive mortifications doubtless as a disposing 
cause, but immediately by a fever. He was near and at his 
native place Arona and with difficulty he got to Milan. He 
was but 46 the news spread in the city that he was in 
danger people did not know how to believe it he was in 
the very midst of a career of great reforms, and at the prime 
of life, as men speak. At length the fact forced itself on 
people's minds, and the churches were crowded the Blessed 
Sacrament was exposed the utmost excitement prevailed 
night came, and the frantic devotion (so to call it) of the 
people continued. Suddenly the great bell of the Duomo 
began to sound and announced to the city its irreparable 
loss. This is over three centuries ago, yet St. Carlo seems 
still to live. You see the memorials of him on every side 
the crucifix that stopped the plague as he bore it along his 
m itre kig r j n g hi s letters. Above all his sacred relics. 



Mass is offered at Ms tomb daily; and you can see it from 
above. a O bone pastor in populo" seems forced on the 
mind by everything one sees. And it seems as if there were 
a connexion between him and us, though at first sight what 
have Saxons who have never paid him any special devotion 
to do with an Italian? but he was raised up to resist that 
dreadful storm under which poor England fell and^ as he 
in Ms day saved Ms country from Protestantism and its col- 
lateral evils, so are we now attempting to do something to 
resist the same foes of the Church in England and therefore 
I cannot but trust that he will do something for us above, 
where he is powerful, though we are on one side of the Alps, 
and he belonged to the other. So I trust; and my mind 
has been full of him, so that I have even dreamed of him 
and we go most days and kneel at his shrine, not forgetting 
Maryvale when there. 5 

Several friends came and went while they were at Milan- 
George Talbot and Amherst from Oscott; Richard Simpson 
of Oriel, who had just been received, and with whom Newman 
was to be closely associated at a critical moment later on; 
Edward Walford from Oxford - r and Mr. Serjeant Bellasis, 
the friend of James Hope. On September 29 systematic 
Italian lessons were begun, St. John being especially keen to 
become a proficient. Italian manners and Italian compli- 
ments were learnt, and to Newman's great delight St. John 
parted from an Italian friend, whom they expected to see 
again in Rome the following January, expressing in confi- 
dent Italian a strong hope that they would shortly meet again 
'in heir for he pronounced 'inverno' (winter) as if it were 
'inferno.' Newman's diary is almost without entries during 
most of the visit the time being probably spent in visiting 
all that was interesting in the place. During the last few days 
Count Mellerio was in Milan, and several meetings with him 
are recorded, including an expedition to Monza. Manzoni, 
however, the author of 'I Promessi Sposi' (which cost Macau- 
lay 'many tears 71 ), did not return to Milan until after their 

lf l finished Manzoni's novel,' writes Macaulay, 'not without many tears. 
The scene between the Archbishop and Don Abbondio is one of the noblest I 
Icnow. The parting scene between the lovers arid Father Cristoforo is most 
touching If the Church of Rome really were what Manzoni represents her to be 
I should be tempted to follow Newman's example.' Trevelyan's Macaulay, ii 


MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 143 

A letter from Newman to Dalgairns towards the end of 
the visit shows his unabated delight in the place. Newman 
again goes into the question of the future plans of himself 
and his friends, on which his views were constantly changing. 
The Jesuits, to whom later on, in Rome especially, he was so 
greatly drawn, had evidently been severely criticised by his 
Milan acquaintance, and the Oratorian prospect was for the 
moment in the ascendant. 

'Milan: October 18, 1846. 

'You are always in my thoughts when I am at St. Carlo's 
shrine, who was a most wonderful saint, and died just at the age 
at which I have begun to live. But this is altogether a won- 
derful city the city of St. Ambrose, St. Monica, St. Augustine, 
St. Athanasius, to say no more. Our parish Church belonged 
to the Jesuits and in it is preserved a cast of St. Ignatius's head 
taken after his death. The Church of St. Satyrus (St. Am- 
brose's brother) belonged to the Oratorians, and there is an 
altar to St. Philip. And St. Paul's was the favourite place of 
devotion of St. Carlo. But the memorials of St. Carlo are all 
about us and to go back to early times, here is the Church 
from which St. Ambrose repelled the soldiers of the Arian, 
and where he and the people passed the night in prayer and 
psalmody. "Excubabat pia plebs in Ecclesia, mori parata 
cum Episcopo servo tuo"; I quote St. Augustine, as you 
may not have it at hand. We have just returned from the 
Duomo where there has been a great function including a 
(Pontifical?) high Mass in celebration of the Dedication of 
the Church by St. Carlo. The day is very wet, but the area 
of the Church was crowded from end to end. . . . 

'We have missed Manzoni but been besieged almost 
daily by his chaplain Ghianda, whom we like very much 
indeed. He speaks Latin like a native, though he has given 
it up in his late conversations with us. Rosmini passed 
through Milan, sending me a civil message, with an ex- 
planation that he did not call since he could not speak Latin 
nor I Italian. This is not enough to explain his not calling. 
Ghianda has a great admiration for him, and Manzoni 
has also. I wish we had more to tell of him, but I cannot 
get at the bottom of his philosophy; I wish to believe it is 
all right, yet one has one's suspicions. I do not think we 
have got a bit further than this in our reflections and con- 
clusions, to think that Dr. Wiseman was right in saying that 
we ought to be Oratorians. . . . Altogether it seems rather 


the age for external secularism with the gentle inward bond 
of asceticismand this is just Oratorianism. We have been 
asking Ghianda about the Dominicans, and whether they had 
preserved their traditions anywhere. He said he thought 
they had at Florence, and somewhere else. We asked what 
he meant why that they were still Thomists &c. However, 
on further inquiry we found that the said Dominicans of 
Florence were manufacturers of scented water, &c. and had 
very choice wine in their cellar. He considered Lacordaire 
quite a new beginning, a sort of knight errant, and not a 
monk. However, as to our prospects, I repeat nothing can 
be known till we get to Rome. 

'I have asked St. John what else I have to say, and he 
says "Tell him you bully me!" This is true, but he deserves 
it. I am glad to tell you he 'is decidedly stronger. I have 
been making him take some quinine, The journey along 
the Valley before we came to the Simplon was very trying; 
and the weather now is not good. We have been so happy 
here for a month or five weeks, I quite dread the moving 
again and if it is wet, so much the worse but it does not 
do to anticipate evils/ 

On October 21, Newman and Ambrose St. John went the 
round of the seven Basilicas of Milan, and at six o'clock on the 
morning of the 23rd they left for Pavia (where they saw St. 
Augustine's shrine), going on to Genoa, which they reached at 
noon on Saturday, the 24th, and thence (after a halt of two 
days) to Pisa and Civita Vecchia, arriving at Rome by diligence 
at 10 P.M. on the Wednesday. On Thursday morning New- 
man and St. John went straight to St. Peter's, and by a for- 
tunate coincidence found the Holy Father himself saying Mass 
at the Confession the traditional tomb of the Apostles. 

On the same day visits were paid to Cardinal Franzoni and 
to Monsignor Brunelli, secretary to Propaganda, who soon 
became their fast friend. The presence of George Ryder and 
his young family in Rome gave Newman the rest and happi- 
ness of seeing the familiar faces of old friends, and we find 
many meetings with them recorded in the diary. 

For a few days Newman and St. John took up their resi- 
dence at an hotel at which George Talbot, Amherst, and Lord 
Clifford were staying. But on November 9 they moved to 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 145 

The 'Collegio di Propaganda' was founded by Urban VIII. 
in the early seventeenth century, to further the plan of his 
predecessor Gregory XV., who had in 1622 founded the 
Congregation of Cardinals 'de propaganda fide' with the 
object of promoting foreign missions to the heathen. The 
college contained young men of every nationality and 
prepared them for missionary work. The building in which 
Newman and St. John found themselves was built by Urban 
from the designs of Bernini. The college has a fine library 
and a museum containing interesting MSS. and a wonder- 
ful assortment of idols, trophies of missionary conquests in 
heathen parts. Newman's first impressions of the place are 
given in a letter to Mr. David Lewis, in which he also gives 
some account of the last days at Milan and the journey to 

'Collegio di Propaganda, Nov. 15, 1846. 

'We have been at Rome three weeks next Wednesday, 
and in College nearly a week. They are wonderfully kind to 
us, we have everything our own way and, if we pleased, 
might be mere sight seers come to Rome to kill time (I 
suppose, however, they would not be pleased with us if we 
were). We are in daily lectures with the boys. We dine at 
n|- and Sup at 8 both very good meals. At 7 A.M. have cafe 
au lait, and tea as we go to bed. They insist on the tea. 
They have put stoves in our rooms and anticipate all our wants. 
We have not yet been introduced to the Pope. The climate 
of Rome is trying as variable as England, and some days 
very keen. We have seen Meyrick, who is very happy; we 
have been to the Passionists but have seen more of the Jesuits 
than of any others. We have not yet seen anything of the 
Oratorians. We had a most pleasant time at Milan, and 
much regretted to leave it. We were lodged in a Priest's 
house, but quite to ourselves, and we employed ourselves in 
visiting Churches and attempting Italian. It was a time 
when most people, even Priests, were out of town; which 
would have been a loss, had we been better Italian scholars 
and we were even glad to be to ourselves. We made 
one or two very pleasant acquaintances, besides dining at 
Count Mellerio's, who is a great person at Milan. Our 
passage to Genoa might have been much worse, but as it was, 
we had first to be shipped in boats (a little way past Pa via) , 
when we rowed through the fields and woods of the place for 
an hour or so then we h&4 3-11 our luggage opened under 


a most threatening sky, without any covering then we were 
mounted atop of our own luggage in two one horse carts, 
riding backwards, for sundry miles, till night-fall and then 
in the dusk and rain to be rowed across the mighty Po. 
The Jesuits are in great force at Genoa, the French Fathers 
having taken refuge there. We fell in with an Irish Novice, 
a very nice fellow, who was allowed to take us over the 
place and with a French Father, who had been in England, 
and spoke English, of whom we saw a good deal. From 
Genoa we came to Civita Vecchia by the steamer, and went 
up by a railroad to Pisa on our way. See what a dull 
matter of fact letter I am writing, but I have not the pictorial 
power for any other and you must take it as the best 
article I can produce. . . . There are above thirty languages 
in the town; we have been introduced to all the youths as 
many as 30 (out of perhaps 120) speak English 1 but we are 
the only Englishmen. Everything goes on with quite a mili- 
tary punctuality but the boys seem very happy and merry. 
'We hear no Politics here but the English papers seem 
to be full of the Politics of Rome. The Pope's solemn 
Processo was this day week, when he gave his blessing from 
the loggia of St. John Lateran it was a most wonderful 
sight. We saw him the very first morning we came, 
walking about St. Peter's, and stood quite close to him, and 
the first Mass we heard in Rome was his, and that at 
St. Peter's Tomba very unusual occurrence. St. John 
desires all kind remembrances and now good bye. 

'Ever yours affectionately, 


St. John writes on the same day to Dalgairns at Langres: 

'Rome: Nov. 15, 1846. 

'We have visited the seven Basilicas, the tre Fontane 
(St. Paul's place of martyrdom) St. Peter Montorio (St. Peter's) 
St. Clement's where lie St. Ignatius M. and St. Clement, 
(close as might be expected to the Colosseum) ; St. Ignatius 
Loyola's bed-room and the room where he wrote his con- 
stitutions; here also died St. Francis Borgia; there are in 
the Gesu also St. Stanislaus Kostka's bed-room at the 
Noviciate (where he died) ; also St. Philip Neri's relics, and 
what is most interesting the very little chapel in the Cata- 
combs where his heart was enlarged. We have been 

1 Americans, Canadians, Scotch, and Irish so Ambrose St. John explains 
in a letter. 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 147 

extremely kindly treated, there is no doubt about it: two 
of the best rooms in the house have been selected for us, 
and fitted up with very handsome furniture new from top to 
bottom; which in Italy is a special compliment. . . . When 
we first came they seemed to propose that we should have our 
own way entirely, living here as [at] a lodging house, going to 
Church at a fashionable hour at the Church opposite, going 
in and out as we liked: but when they found that this would 
not do, they were evidently not unwilling that we should 
conform to the rules as much as we pleased, ourselves; and 
we are accordingly given three lectures a day. The rector 
was evidently pleased when Newman talked with him the 
other day, and spoke of the great sacrifice we chose to make 
&c. I wonder what he thinks we have been used to. We 
have everything in greater luxury than at Maryvale except 
fires which we might make up for with stoves. I cannot doubt 
however Newman does edify them in the true sense of the 
word by turning schoolboy at his age. For me it is all very 
well, and I have no doubt with time I shall not find old 
Perrone very dry. We shall move together and get on in 
spite of a cut and driedness which one may have to expect. 
What they will do with us I have no idea yet, we have not 
had any hints about ordination or anything else. All the 
authorities in the house are Jesuits, and the domestic places 
of responsibility are filled by Jesuit lay brothers: as doctor, 
porter, superintendent of the house affairs, &c. So much 
for our new school, for school it is, tho ? for grown up boys 
albeit. There is every prospect of its being a very happy 
place to stop in. I hardly know what else to tell you we 
have met the Ryders and a good many others that we know, 
amongst others Newman's friend and convert Miss Giberne. 7 

It was Newman's temptation so he told Father Neville 
in looking back at those days to spend the leisure time he 
allowed himself with old friends whose memories and habits 
had so much in common with his own. But he felt that he 
must not fail to use his opportunity for knowing Rome and 
the Romans. Forty-five was not young for the beginning of 
a new life, and there was no time to be lost. The climate 
tried him and a very severe cold kept him in bed for some 
days: but he made friends with Cardinal Acton, who took 
him to see the Passionists on the Celian within a few days 
of his arrival. He had a long talk with Padre Mazio and 
other Professors at the Roman College, with the Rector of 


Propaganda, and with Monsignor Brunelli during his first 
week, and called on Princess Doria. 

On the 23rd, after a visit to William Clifford 1 at the 
Collegio Nobile and a walk of some hours in the country, 
Newman and St. John were unexpectedly summoned by 
Monsignor Brunelli to the Vatican to be presented to Pius IX. 
The interview is described a little later by both in letters to 

'As St. John has not given you an account of our visit to 
the Pope/ Newman writes, 'I will; though you don't deserve 
it, you write such scanty letters. At the end of November, 
one Sunday, after we had been taking a dirty walk and come 
in almost at dusk, we were suddenly summoned in that dirty 
state to go to the Pope, and went with our Mantille dipped 
in water, not to remove, but to hide, its filth. We went 
with Monsignor Brunelli, the Secretary here, Archbishop of 
Thessalonica, and after waiting about an hour and a half in 
the anteroom, were summoned in to His Holiness. We saw 
him for but a few minutes. He is a handsome vigorous man, 
not looking older than he is, and his manners exceedingly 
easy and affable. He told us a story of some English 
conversion, and when St. John asked in simplicity "What 
was the man's name?" he smiled and, laying Ms hand on 
St. John's arm, answered, "Do you think I can recollect your 
English names? 73 He asked our Christian names, and said 
he was very much pleased to see me a recovered sheep, 
and then he ran across the room and gave me the picture 
St. John told you of. He gave St. John himself a coronation 
medal, and afterwards told some one he was so sorry he 
could not give him a picture, but he had no other. When 
I knelt down, to kiss his foot on entrance, I knocked rny 
head against his knee. A friend of mine, Miss Giberne, on 
being presented, took up Ms foot in her hands; it is a 
wonder she did not throw him over. This is what I suppose 
you wanted to know. There is not much to tell but 
particularity brings a thing home to the mind, I know. 7 

St. John writes at the same time: 

'Before Newman went to the Holy Father, he (the Pope) 

told F. Corta that he wished to see Newman "again and 

again/' and when we were there nothing could be more 

really and heartily cordial than his way. ... I do hope 

1 The brother of Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, afterwards Bishop of Clifton. 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 149 

and trust that when Newman has become more familiar 
with the language he will have an opportunity of laying 
open to him the wants of England &c.: from the Pope's 
encyclical letter it quite looks as if he felt that the most 
pressing want of the Church at present is something to meet 
the philosophy of the age. It is curious how exactly this 
coincides with Newman's line. But now here comes the 
rub how in the want of a free knowledge of the language 
and of influential persons to represent Newman's capabilities 
and all that the rest of the converts might do in this or in 
any other way, how, I say, is the Pope without almost a 
supernatural guidance to put Newman in the way of carrying 
out any plan for establishing a school of philosophy or for any 
other purpose. How is the Pope to know again the influence 
Newman has on the minds of others, how that he is almost 
alone as a preacher to students and divines of an English 
turn of mind? All these things when on the spot present 
themselves as practical difficulties which are not so easy to 
solve, and Newman as you well know is not the person to 
solve them by putting himself forward.' 

Father Neville, to whom Newman had talked often of 
these days, learned from him that he was somewhat tried 
by the schoolboy life and schoolboy companionship at Propa- 
ganda 'a whole troop of blackamoors/ in Father Neville's 
own phrase; and to one who had for years lived in the most 
interesting society which Oxford afforded, the great change 
in his surroundings, coming in middle life, must have had its 
drawbacks. He ever spoke, however, with especial admiration 
of Father Bresciano the Rector, and of Father Ripetti his 
Jesuit confessor. St. John had, as we have seen, been 
sanguine that the importance of the work which Newman 
had most at heart for intellectual needs within the Christian 
Church, in view of the anti-Christian movement of contem- 
porary thought, was strongly felt in Rome. But this hope 
was not entirely verified. Whatever the Pope felt and desired 
instinctively and in general, in fact things seem to have re- 
mained much what they had long been, and developments in 
philosophy with a view to the thought of the hour received 
no encouragement. This, the one serious trial of his Roman 
visit, became more evident later on; but there were symp- 
toms of it from the first which led to a certain moderation in 
anticipations for the future. The new life was, in Newman's 


own phrase, ' loss and gain. ' Trials multiplied later on. The time 
at Propaganda, however, remained on the whole in his mind 
one of peace on which he loved to look back. A letter written 
at this time to Henry Wilberforce speaks unmistakably of 
happiness, although the note of sadness is not absent: 

'Collegio di Propaganda: Dec. 13, 1846. 

'My dear Henry, I am tempted to write to you again, 
since your kind message through the Ryders and that the 
more because it is pleasant to think of an old friend in a far 
country. Nothing can exceed the kindness of the people 
with whom I am. Father Bresciano especially, the Rector, is 
a man of real delicacy as well as kindness, and he anticipates 
all our wants in the most acceptable way he really enters 
surprisingly into our feelings; but after all there is nothing 
like an old friend. New friends cannot love one if they 
would; they know nothing of one but to one who has 
known another twenty years, his face and his name is a 
history; a long series of associations is bound up with every 
word or deed which comes from him, which has a meaning 
and an interpretation in those associations. And thus I feel 
that no one here can sympathize with me duly for even 
those who think highly of me have the vaguest, most 
shadowy, fantastic notions attached to their idea of me, and 
feel a respect, not for me, but for some imagination of their 
own which bears my name. It would be sad indeed, if all 
this did not throw me back upon more directly religious 
thoughts than that of any creature and indeed it does. 
Both what people here can do for me, and what they cannot, 
carries off the mind to Him who "has fed me all my life 
long until this day/' whom I find protecting me most 
wonderfully under such new circumstances, just as He ever 
has before, and who can give me that sympathy which men 
cannot give. It is so wonderful to find myself here in 
Propaganda it is a kind of dream and yet so quiet, so safe, 
so happy as if I had always been here as if there had 
been no violent rupture or vicissitude in my course of life 
nay more quiet and happy than before. I was happy at 
Oriel, happier at Littlemore, as happy or happier still at 
Maryvale and happiest here. At least whether I can 
rightly compare different times or not, how happy is this 
very thing that I should ever be thinking the state of life in 
which I happen to be, the happiest of all. There cannot 
be a more striking proof how I am blest. As we go about 
the Churches of Rome, St. John ever says of the last he sees, 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 151 

"Well, this is the most striking of all." This as yet has been 
the happiness of my own life though of course I do not 
know what is before me, and may at length against my will 
be brought out into the world but it does not seem likely. 
I say it does not seem likely, for I can't tell as yet what they 
will make of me here, or whether they will find me out. It 
is very difficult to get into the mind of a person like me, 
especially considering so few speak English, and fewer still 
understand it spoken, and I can say so little in Italian. 
Then again in a College one sees so few people out of doors. 
It is most difficult even to get to speak Italian, though I am 
in an Italian house; what with the time in chapel, the Latin 
spoken in lecture, and the brief vacations. I am living the 
greater part of my time to and with myself with St. John 
in the room opposite. What can people know of me? Nor 
would it do good to go out both because I am so slow at 
the language and because I am so bashful and silent in 
general society. Miss Giberne, who is here, tells me a saying 
of Rickards about me, that when my mouth was shut it seems 
as if it would never open, and when open as if it would never 
shut. So that I don't expect people will know me. The con- 
sequence will be, that, instead of returning with any special 
responsibilities upon me, any special work to do, I should on 
my return slink into some ready-formed plan of operation, and 
if I did not become a friar or Jesuit, I should go on hum- 
drumming in some theological seminary or the like. It is one 
especial benefit in the Catholic Church that a person's use- 
fulness does not depend on "the accident of its being found out. 
There are so many ready-formed modes of usefulness, great 
institutions, and orders with great privileges and means of 
operation, that he has but to unite himself to one of them, and 
it is as if Pope and Cardinals took him up personally. I am 
always, I think, egotistical to you, but indeed I believe to no 
one else. So, since I am in for it, I will add, what (as far as 
I know) I have never told to anyone that, before now, my 
prayers have been so earnest that I never might have dignity 
or station, that, as they have been heard as regards the Eng- 
lish Church, I think they will be heard now also. 

'As yet the persons I have chiefly seen, besides the good 
Jesuits here, are those of the Gesu and the Roman College. 
They are all abundantly kind and I think I shall gain a 
good deal from them there are none however yet, who quite 
come up to our good priests at Milan, to one of whom in 
particular we got much attached. They are generally some- 


what cut and dried here (all I say to you is in confidence). 
One thing however has struck me here and everywhere (though 
I am ashamed to introduce it with an " however 3 ' ashamed 
to introduce it at all) the monstrous absurdity of supposing 
that the Catholic Priests are not absolute and utter believers 
in the divinity of their own system. They are believers so as 
to be bigots their fault is that they generally cannot conceive 
how educated Englishmen can be Anglicans with a good con- 
science but they have a profound confidence in the truth of 
Catholicism indeed it would be shocking to entertain the 
question, except that it is so commonly asked in England. 

'We are about 150 here. 32 languages spoken in 
the house. It is most affecting to see the youths give the 
embrace at the Pax at the Mass. It is like Pentecost come 
again. And some of them may, for what one knows, be 
martyrs. There have been (many) Martyrs of the Congrega- 
tion, for they go to all sorts of countries. By the bye we 
have in a chapel the relics of a martyr, St. Hyacinth, 
which have lately been found in the catacombs, inscription 
and all he was burnt; it is a long and curious story. The 
tomb had been unopened since the time of St. Damasus 
who inclosed it. We have been with Fr. Marchi to the 
Catacomb of St. Agnese. I dare say you have heard an 
account of it from the Ryders. My imagination was dis- 
appointed, I had heard so much of it, but not my reason. 
Fancy a chapel under ground, deep and (of the 2nd or 
3rd century) highly painted. This strikes me as a most 
remarkable fact, that church decoration should be a part of 
Christianity, that it should be practised in the midst of 
persecution and in the heart of the earth. The chapel I speak 
of has an apse; and an altar, just like a modern Catholic one, 
with the tomb of a martyr under the paintings of two 
martyrs praying on each side and at the back (what we 
should call the east end) a large figure of the Blessed Virgin 
with her hands out in prayer (as the Priest stretches them 
now in the Mass) our Lord is in her lap, not in prayer. . . . 
In the same (I think) chapel there were two stone chairs 
think of seeing the chairs in which the primitive bishops and 
priests sat in persecution, and in their very places, unmoved! 
. . . It is impossible to see Mrs. and still more Miss Ryder, 
without seeing how firmly they are Catholics; and that 
excitement has nothing to do with their conversion. I wish 
you saw the children they seem so happy. Little Alice 
came up to me on St. Francis Xavier's day and asked me if 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 153 

I did not love the saint of the day. They take to Catholicism 
just as the Bowdens do. my dear H. how can you be so 
cruel to poor John! Why defraud him of his inheritance? 
The report here is that Fortescue is near moving. 

' We are under the Pincian, but the Tiber was close to us 
the other morning, having crossed the Corso. 

'Ever yours affectionately, 

J. H. N. 7 

The thoughts, feelings, and general impressions of Rome 
during the first two months of their residence may be gathered 
from the following letter written at the end of December by 
St. John to Dalgairns, who had just received priest's orders 
at Langres: 

'All the Italians we have been thrown amongst have been, 
I must say, most universally kind, in the college it increases 
rather than wears off; and the F. Rector is certainly one of 
the most considerate not to say kind persons I have met with. 
Meeting with such a man has certainly saved us both a great 
many trials. He is always telling Newman to have his own 
way more, and looking out to see what he really wishes. . . . 
We have picked up divers things from time to time about the 
rules &c. of different orders we have come across. [From] what 
I have heard of the Dominican 5#s; they put me in mind of 
the old Anglican "High and dry's. 7 ' Newman will go into 
them more at length. The Jesuits I never can cease to ven- 
erate, be my calling what it may; they are a wonderful body: 
The Passionists have a high name as a very edifying body, 
too strict though for poor dear old human nature. Their 
house is one of the best ordered monasteries in cleanliness 
&c. &c. in Rome: we hope to see them again to-morrow for 
it is the anniversary of our stay at Aston Hall. Dr. Theiner 
of the Oratorians we have seen and breakfasted with; most 
extremely kind he was, said Mass for us and gave us Com- 
munion on St. Stephen's day in St. Philip's little chapel 
where he had his ecstasies at Mass and where the brother 
used to come back after leaving him for two hours, and look 
thro' a grating to see if his ecstasies were over (his Sciocchezze 
as St. Philip used to call them himself). All remains as he 
left it. His confessional, bed, shoes, discipline, all there. A 
most interesting visit we had and we hope soon to see more 
of the institute and get acquainted with its working. The 
Redemptorists we have not seen; they have no house here, 
only a small church and two or three priests, but they have 


a very high character indeed as a rising order. Their great 
house is at Naples, and see them we certainly ought. Have 
we then after all got nearer our mark you will ask; what is 
to be our line? As yet we have not. Newman has no data 
yet to know whether Theology or preaching is to (be) his 
line: it must work out in time. Meanwhile we are getting 
experience and all of us are being sifted. Besides us three 
Penny is certainly to be with us. "De caeteris nihil constat 
Spero sed timeo." You yourself when at Maryvale can 
undoubtedly do much. . . . What think you of coming to 
Rome before you return to England? If Bowles perhaps 
were to come with you, I really think it might be more impor- 
tant than returning at once to Maryvale. It may be Newman 
may see his way so plain that you would not be needed here, 
but the chances are that your being here would very much 
assist him. No one at a pinch could trumpet for him, and 
bring out his meaning and his line &c. like yourself. The 
Pope and all persons high in office here, speak French. 1 How- 
ever I only throw this out now; it may so happen that by 
Easter we shall say to you: "you must come"' 

An incident slight in itself, yet trying and tiresome in the 
gossiping atmosphere of Roman society, had happened early 
in December. A niece of Lady Shrewsbury died suddenly 
immediately after her arrival in Rome. Prince Borghese 
called on Newman on December 3 and begged him to 
preach at her funeral on the following day. The Prince 
hoped that he would point the moral of a sudden death. 
The Romans always imagined that many Protestants in 
Rome were deterred only by worldly motives from joining 
the Church. Here then was an opportunity of reminding 
them that if they delayed it might prove to be too late. 
Newman did his very best to excuse himself from a 
distasteful office, but in vain. 

' Prince Borghese would take no refusal,' St. John 
writes to Dalgairns; 'in vain, did Newman say it was 
not in his way to make appeals to the feelings &c., there 
was no getting off it was clear without offending the whole 
Borgheses, Dorias, and perhaps Lord Shrewsbury; the 
Prince made such a point of it, that he went himself to the 
Cardinal Vicario to get permission for Newman to preach. 
And so preach he must, and that upon a certain subject 

1 Dalgairns spoke French like a native. 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 155 

(viz. the Protestants), and preach he did the next day. I 
was there and heard him. You. may guess what a trial 
it was to him. You will have little difficulty in imagining 
the sermon. In many points not unlike some of his printed 
sermons, according to request turning the event into an 
argument for the necessity of conversion in every one of 
us. You may fancy him saying: "We all need conver- 
sion." When he had spoken in general to Catholics and 
all, he addressed the Protestants, commenting strongly 
on the usual miserable irreverence of the English in the 
Churches, as everybody knows the one thing which strikes 
people who go to any great function in Rome, prying about 
like brute animals into the Holiest places. He especially 
excepted all who had come to the funeral, saying, "Do then 
for God what you are willing to do for men you love. Help 
this poor soul by your Conversion as Catholics can by their 
prayers. " He concluded with a beautiful panegyric on 
the real greatness of the Anglo-Saxon character, "it 
only needed to be Catholic &c." Such a sermon to 
you and I would be an old friend: but excepting myself 
I really believe it was a new idea to every soul present. 
As you may guess, those who did like it liked it very much 
as the Princess Aldo Brandini, a half sister of Prince 
Borghese, who himself with others of his family could not 
follow the English. But the majority, including many old 
stageing Catholics who brought Protestant friends to hear the 
music, were disgusted to see their friends whipped before 
their faces. And still more the Protestants who heard the 
account from their brother Protestants (whose sole idea seems 
to be that Newman has called them all brutes and dogs &c. 
&c.) became quite rabid; and the disease, propagated at 
balls and parties, has spread partly amongst Protestants 
and partly even amongst Catholics to an amazing extent. 
All this would be mighty little consequence. Pretty nearly 
all English here come for pleasure, and do not like to 
be told "Rome is no place for them but the very place in 
the whole world where Michael and the dragon may almost 
be seen in battle.' 7 (Newman's words.) But Talbot has 
spread far and wide that the Pope told him (Talbot) that 
Newman had spoken too strongly to the Protestants and 
that he supposed he was more of a philosopher ^than an 
orator. This has given a handle which has certainly pro- 
duced a bad effect amongst the English Catholics in Rome. 
Talbot, I should say, at first liked the sermon and wished 
others to like it, so it is no more than mere thoughtless gossip 


on his part; but it is a sad mistake. So much for this affair 
which ... as you may suppose has at times rather tried 

For a time there seems to have been at the Vatican a 
touch of that neglect with which any court is apt to show 
its displeasure; and the Pope's wish to see Newman 'again 
and again' appeared to evaporate. 

But other trials were in store from Newman's difficulty 
in obtaining the agreement of Roman theologians with 
certain views, expressed in his writings, which he felt to be 
necessary for the times. 

Newman had, before leaving England, heard from many 
quarters of the impression made by his 'Essay on Develop- 
ment' on thinkers outside the Church Protestants, as they 
were in those days comprehensively called. The following 
letter from Dr. Gillis, Vicar Apostolic of one of the Scotch 
districts, written earlier in the year, 1846, bears witness 
to the effect of its general argument on an Edinburgh 

C I received your book late on a Saturday night, and 
spent a portion of the night in reading it I introduced it 
next day from the pulpit to a mixed congregation, and 
announced at the same time a short course of lectures upon 
it My eighth and last lecture was given last evening, and I 
am most happy to tell you that from first to last, once in 
spite of the most stormy and trying weather, your Book has 
secured a very select and crowded attendance. Fully two 
thirds of those present were Protestants of every description, 
and there were at least ten men for one woman, and mostly 
men of education. The lectures generally occupied the best 
part of two hours each, when they did not considerably 
exceed that time; yet from first to last your arguments were 
listened to with the most intense interest, and I have had 
occasion to hear since from the best authority that very 
many Protestants were extremely sorry that I so much com- 
pressed the matter at the end, as already to have brought 
our weekly meetings to a conclusion. That a very favourable 
impression has been made by your essay on the minds of 
many Protestants I am certain.' 

It is probable that the nature of Newman's first chapter 
in the ' Development' Essay had a large share in giving the 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 157 

thoughtful Scotchmen a new idea of the importance of the 
Catholic Religion and interesting them in the Essay itself. 
Newman's treatment of the development of a living idea in 
its relations to the civilisation in which it energises, infused 
into an old controversy the quality of philosophical imagina- 
tion. Roman rigidity and the c variations of Popery' were 
dealt with as opposite manifestations of the special genius of 
Catholicism. A deep philosophical principle was suggested 
as accounting for phenomena in the Catholic religion which 
had been so often treated with contempt. 

That the philosophical law exhibited in the develop- 
ment of any great idea was manifest in the changes in 
the external presentation of the Catholic religion from the 
days of the Apostles to those of Gregory XVI. was Newman's 
constant contention. As the idea remains identical in spite of 
all changes in that environment which determines its actual 
expression, so was the Catholic religion, he argued, ever essen- 
tially the same through all the changes in its external mani- 
festations and status, and in the method of the theological 
schools. Of the course of that religion may be said in some 
measure what he says of the development of a living idea 
itself, 'old principles reappear under new forms. It changes 
with them in order to remain the same. In a higher world 
it is otherwise, but here below, to live is to change and to 
be perfect is to have changed often.' 

The assurance of Bishop Gillis that the argument 
of his book had arrested the attention of the Scotch thinkers 
was very satisfactory and encouraging. He desired to get it 
authoritatively recognised as orthodox Catholic apologetic. 
It was all-important, then, to utilise the opportunity of his 
being in Rome for this purpose. 

Moreover, almost at the beginning of his visit to Rome 
Newman turned his serious attention to the proposal that his 
own followers should take their place as theologians and 
apologists of the new age. He considered again the scheme 
which he and Dalgairns had discussed in England, that Mary- 
vale should be a school of theology. And both in theology and 
in apologetics the principle of his Essay was in his mind all- 
important. The acute secularist and anti-religious movement 
on the Continent was being brought before his eyes. It was 


the eve of the revolution of '48, in which the anti-clerical 
spirit was so marked. Rome, on the other hand, stood 
before him as the living evidence of the continuous existence 
of Christianity in the Catholic Church, and of its truth. 
The vigorous life of Rome's old age was on Newman's prin- 
ciples one of the very proofs that its religion was true. Both 
these spectacles inspired him to complete and co-ordinate his 
own philosophy of the development of the Christian Church. 
'The maxims and first principles of religion in a perfectly 
logical mind lead to Rome; their denial to religious nega^ 
tion 1 this was his main contention from 1845 to the end 
of his life. One set of principles led to the development of 
religious *truth ? the other to the development of religious 
error. Thus the principle of development combined both 
the evidence for the Catholic Church and the reply to modern 

He expressed this position later on in one of his Catholic 
works as follows: 

'The multitude of men indeed are not consistent, logical 
or thorough; they obey no law in the course of their religious 
views; and while they cannot reason without premisses, and 
premisses demand first principles, and first principles must 
ultimately be (in one shape or another) assumptions, they do 
not recognise what this involves, and are set down at this or 
that point in the ascending or descending scale of thought, 
according as their knowledge of facts, prejudices, education, 
domestic ties, social position, and opportunities for inquiry de- 
termine; but nevertheless there is a certain ethical character, 
one and the same, a system of first principles, sentiments 
and tastes, a mode of viewing the question and of arguing, 
which is formally and normally, naturally and divinely, 
the organum iwvestigandi given us for gaining religious truth, 
and which would lead the mind by an infallible succession 
from the rejection of atheism to theism, and from theism to 
Christianity, and from Christianity to Evangelical Religion, 
and from these to Catholicity.' l 

Newman desired, if he resumed his work for theology, to 
draw out this argument scientifically both as a strong weapon 

1 This statement of the case was added as an appendix to the later editions 
of the Grammar of Assent in reply to a misrepresentation of Newman's argument 
which appeared in the London daily Press. 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 159 

In the hands of the Christian apologist and for the benefit of 
inquirers and sceptics. The task of teaching divinity to 
theological students would be exactly the opportunity he 
wanted to bring out clearly and persuasively his philosophy 
of faith and to instil it into the rising generation a far more 
effective mode of influence than mere controversy, with its 
attendant misunderstandings. Yet for men, however acknowl- 
edged their intellectual eminence, to aspire to teach divinity 
when they were but recent converts, must, he felt, appear 
bold. In England the converts, though so well received at the 
colleges, were, he gradually learnt, already viewed with some 
suspicion by the bulk of English Catholics. On the other 
hand, they were absolutely trusted by one man of genius 
among their English co-religionists Bishop Wiseman. And 
the scheme, both in itself and in its ultimate object of stem- 
ming the tide of modern infidelity, had been Wiseman's own. 
Moreover, Wiseman was by education and traditions a Roman. 
The hope arose that the views he and Newman shared might 
find special support in Rome; and armed with authority from 
the Holy See Newman might successfully accomplish what 
else it would be extravagant to think of attempting. The 
root-principles of his religious philosophy were sketched in 
the sermons on Faith and Reason known as the 'Oxford 
University Sermons,' of which he wrote that he considered 
it, though incomplete, the best book that he had ever written. 1 
The superstructure was indicated in the 'Essay on the 
Development of Christian Doctrine.' 

The first thing, then, was to ascertain how these works 
were viewed in Rome. And there was a difficulty from the 
start, for no theologian in the city read English with any 
facility. The i Development' Essay, as the work immedi- 
ately leading to his conversion, naturally came first under 
consideration, and Dalgairns arranged to have it translated 
into French. A similar proposal was made a little later as 
to a selection from the Sermons. 

But all this while there was a country besides England itself 
in which English was read, America. And the practical people 
inhabiting that country were first introduced to the ' Essay on 
Development' by the Unitarians, who quoted it as evidence 

1 See p. 58. 


that the Trinitarian doctrine was not primitive, but was a 
development of the third century. An outcry followed tke 
narrow and vigorous Dr. Brownson taking the matter up in his 
Review; and echoes of the outcry found their way to Rome. 
Further, the 'Development' Essay which, though iinished 
when he was convinced of the truth of Catholicism, was, 
strictly speaking, a work of Newman's Anglican life was 
not separated by the popular hubbub in Rome or in America 
from his other Anglican works, written in the days when 
Rome was hateful to him. Strong sayings were quoted from 
the 'Prophetical Office 5 as to the papacy being Antichrist 
and Romanism 'possessed by the devil.' Echoes reached 
Rome, within a fortnight of his arrival, of ignorant clamour 
in America of a kind which it is hopeless to deal with in 
which misunderstanding acquires the heat of righteous wrath, 
and to listen to explanation is held to be like giving ear to 
the tempter. All this was the more disappointing because 
Newman had found immediately on his arrival that the all- 
important principle of c Development/ the fact that it was a 
i)era causa, was admitted by the Roman theologians; and 
he had hoped that the question of its extent as evidenced 
by the facts of history could be discussed calmly. The 
American outcry prevented for the moment any such cairn 
discussion and seems to have scared the Romans. Con- 
troversial exigencies naturally held an important place 
in the city which was the centre of the government of a 
militant Church, and thus the report that Newman's book 
had given the Unitarians big and effective guns created 
prejudice. All this was most annoying and discouraging 
for Newman. He was determined not to press his view 
publicly without Roman support, but he at once took steps 
to let the Americans know that at least in principle his 
theory was accepted in Rome, A fortnight after his arrival 
Newman refers to the situation in a letter to Dalgairns: 

'Collegia di Propaganda: November 15, 1846. 

f My dear Dalgairns, EJIOX writes me word that the 
whole American Church, all the Bishops I think, are up in 
arms against my book. They say it is half Catholicism half 
infidelity. Of course they know nothing of antiquity or of the 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 161 

state of the case; . . . but their extreme violence for Knox 
calls it a storm shows that I am quite right in writing to Knox 
what people think here before I now commit myself publicly 
to what yet I see no reason whatever to relinquish privately. 
All I have heard about my book here has been from two 
professors, one dogmatic of the Collegio Romano, (Jesuits). 
They evidently have been influenced by the American 
opposition which is Jknown in Rome; but what they say 
after all is not much. They admit the principle of develop- 
ment but say I have carried it too far, judging by bits trans- 
lated for them. When I asked for instances they took the 
part of Bull against Petavius and said Petavius went too far and 
retracted. I pressed them whether I had been too far on the 
subject of the Pope's supremacy, but they didn't seem to 
know more of the book than the above. They said that the 
American Unitarians availed themselves of my admissions. 
This both showed whence their objection to me came, and 
also explained the cause of the American irritation. The 
Socinians of Boston urge them with bits of my book; they are 
not divines enough to know whether or not they should take 
my theory, and therefore are simply at a disadvantage. I 
suspect this is the state of the case. Also I fancy the book 
may be too ultramontane for our American friends, and too 
much representing the Church as against government. 

' However it is clear that (though I don't think it will come 
to this} I must not be the propounder of a new theory on so 
grave a subject without any encouragement to believe that I 
am concurring in the Roman traditions. 

'But the practical point is this. You see everything 
depends on the exactness of the French translation. 1 An 
incautious rendering of particular phrases may ruin every- 
thing. It is plain, then, sorry as I am to give you trouble, 
a good deal depends on your sharpness of eye. You are the 
only person who can do what is required. I will say this 
too I am very anxious that my Preface, containing my 
Retractations, should be carefully translated. You will see 
the reason for what do you think Father Perrone in his new 
edition says of me? "Newman Romanum Pontificem vocat 
diabolum." By the bye it is an encouraging fact, connected 
with the theory of development, that the said Perrone is 
writing a book to show that the Immaculate Conception may 
be made an article of Faith. . . . 

1 This will seem to some a remarkable presage on Newman's part in respect 
of the singularly inaccurate translations of his writings in our own time. 


'You must not be prejudiced against the Jesuits. I say 
this because I think you have never come in contact with 
any. We have seen a great many, and with no persons do 
we get on so well Not that I mean to be a Jesuit or to per- 
suade you, but I really do think we should leave ourselves 
open to everything, and I wish you to be clear of prejudice. 
We got acquainted with a very pleasing Father (P. Jourdain), 
a Frenchman at Genoa, and here we like them very much. 
Meyrick 1 is very happy and we have seen him twice last 
on Friday, St. Stanislaus's day. 

'What do you think of Mr. Spencer having joined the 
Passionists? I am very glad for Father Dominic's sake. 
We went to their House here with Cardinal Acton. It is 
very clean and beautifully situated. We saw various remains 
(dress, &c.) of Venerable Paul. 2 They expect he will be 
canonized by the end of three years. Suppose we all become 
Passionists. Ever yours affectionately, 

J, H. NEWMAN. 7 

As Newman learnt more of the state of opinion in Rome 
and among Catholics elsewhere, the situation became more 
tantalising. His Oxford University Sermons made a great 
and most favourable impression among the theologians in 
some quarters notably in France. Then, again, the neo- 
scholastic philosophical revival had not yet begun, and 
Rosmini had been urging the need of a religious philosophy 
specially suited to the age. The absence then of any existing 
generally accepted rival system (for he learnt on all hands that 
there was none) seemed at first sight to give Newman the 
opportunity for urging his own views. Moreover, Newman 
found that what was taught on 'Faith and Reason' and on 
'Development 7 by Father Perrone, the chief theological 
Professor in Rome, went in its general direction on lines 
with which he himself entirely concurred. Again, one of 
the most important points in Newman's own philosophy 
the idea of " wisdom" as the outcome of deep thought in the 
Christian Church on the whole field of knowledge under the 

1 Newman had written by mistake 'Tickell.' St. John, in correcting it to 
'Meyrick/ adds: *N. says it is all the same, all Jesuits have the same cut 
ahout them.' 

2 St. Paul of the Cross,, founder of the Passionists, who was in 1846 not yet 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 163 

guidance of the Spirit of Wisdom, and as the special gift of 
the perfect he found accepted in substance by a repre- 
sentative theologian with whom he conversed. 

Yet in the end it proved that, while he understood, and 
claimed as in accord with his own thought, so many of the 
views of the ablest Roman professors, some of the most 
influential among them did not understand him and hesitated 
to accept his teaching. His terminology was different from 
theirs ; and when thought advanced to further issues than they 
had already contemplated, even though the consideration of 
such issues was Newman's response to questions raised by the 
thinking world, these minds, so acute up to a certain point, 
appeared to him to stop short abruptly. 

Moreover, what was not understood was at once wrongly 
characterised by its adverse critics: they gave it a label from 
their own stock in trade, and it was then declared to be 
untenable. His language on probability' in which the 
essential contrast was really between demonstrative evidence 
and circumstantial or cumulative evidence was interpreted 
as a denial, with Hermes, of the possibility of getting beyond 
probability and attaining to certainty on matters of religion. 
It availed not that Newman found precisely his own view in 
so approved a writer as De Lugo. De Lugo points out that 
while our belief in revelation, in so far as it depends on the 
Word of God, is most certain, nevertheless its ultimate premiss 
is our belief that God has in fact spoken. This is a matter 
of circumstantial evidence and not of demonstration. And 
it is less clear and cogent than our belief (for example) in the 
existence of India, which rests on human testimony, and is 
also a question of moral proof and not of demonstration. 1 

1 Oritur autem haec major evidentia de India, quam de rebus fidei, non 
quidem ex eo quod fundamenta nostrse fidei minora sint; sunt enim multo 
majora, cum sint veracitas et testificatio divina; sed ex eo, quod minus clare 
nobis proponuntur, quam fundamenta ad credendam existentiam Indise, Nam 
ad convincendumintellectum, et determinandum ad assensum non solum deservit 
pondus ipsius motivi, sed etiam major claritas, qua proponitur, quse magis 
impedit dubium, et formidinem de objecto, quam pondus solum motivi absque ea 
claritate cogniti. Quare licet auctoritas divina aque dare cognita magis deter- 
minant ex se, et convinceret intellectual f quam motiva humana, qua habet ad 
credendam Indiam: de facto iamen seclusa pia ajfectione, et imperio wluntatis, 
minus eogit, quia non aque dare, sed magis obscure apparet, quam appareant ilia 
alia motiva, et ideo secluso imperio wluntatis, posset facile intellects dissentire, 



Newman held that his own position no more disparaged relig- 
ious certainty than De Lugo's, but his terminology made his 
view suspect. Some of his critics, adhering to the language 
of the thirteenth century, with its passion for syllogism, 
seemed to him to be ready to lose an important truth and 
ignore undeniable facts rather than admit a new expression. 
Newman's language about Faith was confused by others 
with the condemned fideism of M. Bautain. So, too, on the 
question of actual development of doctrine he could not get 
the Roman professors who criticised him to face clearly his 
difficulties, and his critics accused him of holding that the 
Church could define what was simply not in the tradition. 
His position was, of course, that what was implicitly present 
from the first, as being an 'aspect of the idea' handed down 
by tradition, might be at a given time denied by those who 
did not yet master intellectually all the implications of this 
tradition. And yet at the same time, while Roman divines 
failed to accept the view in the abstract, they were 
defending it in the concrete. Perrone was maintaining 
that the Immaculate Conception which such representative 
Doctors as St. Bernard and St. Thomas had declared not 
to be in the tradition could nevertheless be defined. Again, 
Perrone did admit the difference between moral and demon- 
strative evidence; yet many demurred to Newman's own ex- 
pressions, which meant no more. And these criticisms were, 
he learnt, based on scraps of his writings, which were not 
understood in their context. All this tried and perplexed him. 
The customary exposition on these questions was that left as a 
legacy by acute minds; but it stopped short here and there, 
he thought, of issues which had since become pressing. On 
difficulties long familiar the current text-books had the 
accepted answer, often expressed extremely well. A new 
point of view, however, those divines who criticised him 
seemed not to realise. To acquiesce in this state of things 
was, he said, to abandon the dream of an apologetic adequate 
to meet the growing infidelity of the age. 

prout ' de facto dissentiuni haretid, quibus proposita sufficienter sunt motiva 
credibilitatis nostr<z fidei: cum eadem experientia ostendat neminem negare 
Indiatn huwana solwn auctoritate probatam. De Virtute Fidei dinncB, Disp- IL 
Sect. 42. Cf. Newman's letter to Mr, Capes at p. 247. 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 165 

Yet, on the other hand, Newman, whose great desire was 
to work under authority, could not undertake a campaign 
against a phase of theological thought which tried him. He 
did indeed urge privately that the philosophy he advocated, 
based as it was on generalisations from the history of thought 
within the Church herself, though unfamiliar to Catholics in 
its form, was in substance unquestionably in harmony with 
Catholic traditions. He urged that it ought to be given 
time to develop and explain itself. Whereas it was instead 
hastily judged by a customary mode of speaking which did 
not allow for it, and by an interpretation of its phraseology 
which was alien to its true nature. That authority should 
condemn or check what he believed to be essential for the 
defence of Christian faith in new circumstances, before it had 
been given time to make itself understood, would be in his 
eyes a misfortune. Yet he feared that this might occur if he 
pressed his points too insistently. . Moreover, he thought he 
saw signs that the views of Roman divines were in a state of 
transition. He found, to his surprise, that both St. Thomas 
and Aristotle were now out of favour in Rome. Philosophis- 
ing in general was suspect. It was clear that such views 
were not likely to be permanent. A little patience was 
needed. When, therefore, it became finally evident to him 
that he could not, for the time at least, win general and 
hearty support among the Roman theologians for his writings 
on these subjects, he determined to abandon the scheme of 
founding a theological college as at least premature, and 
simply to leave his books to make their own way gradually. 

At first he thought of laying his own view of the situation 
before the Pope himself. But this idea he soon abandoned. 
Some years would have to be allowed for what he had already 
written to be weighed and understood. It must then come 
to be generally realised that what Rome already admitted 
as to Development in such cases as the prerogatives of the 
Papacy and the Immaculate Conception, really conceded 
principles for which Newman was contending, and which the 
theologians who opposed him hesitated explicitly to grant. 
Moreover, on Faith and Reason his terminology was the real 
gravamen. His own analysis was not opposed in essence to 
that of the schools, but rather was engineered by a different 


line of approach starting from the psychological side where 
the heirs to scholasticism started from the logical side. 
Certain principles familiar to Oxford were, he said, new to 
Rome. They must be understood before his works could be 
themselves accurately taken in. Without such preparation, 
his drift being misconceived, he might even be censured 
a painful commencement of his Catholic life. 

He had written definitely to Wiseman within a few 
weeks of his arrival, proposing to found a theological seminary 
at Maryvale: and Wiseman accepted the suggestion. But 
after it had been made, further interviews with Roman 
theologians raised serious doubts. In his letters at this time 
we see his changing impressions as to what ^ was thought in 
Rome of his last book ; and what hope thdre might be of 
his teaching in England under the direct authority of Prj>- 
paganda. In the end the theological scheme was abandoned 
and the Oratorian plan was revived, to its exclusion. 


'Rome. Collegio di Propaganda In Fest. St. Caecil. Nov. 22. 

'My dear Dalgairns, I sent you a letter from this place 
so recently, that probably I shall not dispatch this at once, 
but I write while things are fresh in my mind and as they 

'We heard in Milan that Rosmini's one idea was to make 
a positive substantive philosophy instead of answering ob- 
jections in a petty way and being no more than negative. 
He seemed to think that the age required a philosophy, for 
at present there was none. Several things of the same kind 
which he said struck me as good. What we hear here, though 
we have but just begun to hear, confirms this. Hope told 
me we should find very little theology here, and a talk we 
had yesterday with one of the Jesuit fathers here shows we 
shall find little philosophy. It arose from our talking of the 
Greek studies of the Propaganda, and asking whether the 
youths learned Aristotle. "Oh no," he said, " Aristotle is in 
no favour here no, not in Rome nor St. Thomas. I have 
read Aristotle and St. Thomas and owe a great deal to 
them, but they are out of favour here and throughout Italy. 
St. Thomas is a great saint people don't care to speak 
against him; they profess to reverence him, but put him 
aside/ 7 I asked what philosophy they did adopt. He said 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 167 

none. "Odds and ends whatever seems to them best like 
St. Clement's Stromata. They have no philosophy. Facts 
are the great things, and nothing else. Exegesis, but not 
doctrine." He went on to say that many privately were 
sorry for this, many Jesuits, he said; but no one dared 
oppose the fashion. When I said I thought there was a 
latent power in Rome which would stop the evil, and that the 
Pope had introduced Aristotle and St. Thomas into the Church, 
and the Pope was bound to maintain them, he shrugged his 
shoulders and said that the Pope could do nothing if people 
would not obey him, and that the Romans were a giddy 
people not like the English. He did not like to talk more, 
but said, if we came to his rooms some day, he would 
have a talk with us. I am glad to say that he and another 
Father spoke highly of the Dominicans, and he on this 
occasion said that St. Thomas was honoured among them (!) 
as Ghianda had told us was the case at Florence. He spoke 
slightingly of Perrone but seemed to think he was useful 
for the moment. Here's a look out. . . . 

'This notion has come into my head, if it seems possible 
a little while hence, I shall write to Dr. Wiseman till then 
you are the only person I tell it to but it may vanish in 
smoke. Might not Propaganda like to have a dependency 
of its own in England? All England is now under the Pro- 
paganda, but for that very reason it has almost no part of 
England. Again they talk of a hierarchy, and then no part 
of England would be under Propaganda and they might 
like to keep a hold over it. Now, might not we become 
such an offshoot of Propaganda under strict rules? . . , 

'Nov. 23rd. Yesterday after writing the above, we were 
suddenly summoned to the Pope; but I shall leave St. John 
to give you an account. From what I hear today, I fear 
theology, as such, must for a time be laid on the shelf at 
Maryvale, and we must take to preaching practical sermons. 
The theologians of the Roman Church who are said to sway 
the theology of Rome are introducing bits (without having 
seen the whole book) bits of my Essay into their lecture to 
dissent from. This seems very absurd. I will not raise 
controversy in the Church, and it would ill become a new 
Catholic to be introducing views and again, really all my 
books hitherto have been written from hand to mouth and 
though it will not only be a triumph to such as Palmer but 
I fear throw back such as Hope, I think I shall be content 
to let the matter rest for years before I write again. The 


worst is that I am cut off from controversy against infidels 

'Nov. 26th. I have complained to Father Mazio of the 
Collegio Romano, who assures me the Professors have not 
been speaking against my book; yet there must have been 
some foundation for the report. I told them how it would 
be taken up in England, and did all I could to frighten him 
for if the Yankees make a clatter about concessions to the 
Unitarians on the one hand, it is right to inflict upon the 
Romans the fear of the English being thrown back on 
the other. I think I shall get no opinion whatever one way 
or other on my main point. If I were to write a sort of 
memorial or case to the Pope himself and ask his advice, 
you would tell me it is worth nothing, as you did at Langres. 
I cannot think this all Saints have had recourse to the 
Pope for advice and direction yet they did not expect him 
to speak "ex cathedra/" 


'Collegio di Propaganda In Fest. Concept. Immac. B. M. V. 1846, 

'I fear you will call me a fidget since I have written 
to you so lately but I think I might put a few lines of 
Preface to my third (French) Edition of the Essay, if you 
did not think that by saying something I should be com- 
mitting myself to what I did not happen to deny. Since I 
wrote I find the Essay is accused of denying moral certainty 
and B holding with Hermes we cannot get beyond probability 
in religious questions. This is far from my meaning. I use 
" probable 7 ' in opposition to " demonstrative" and moral 
certainty is a state of mind. ... I suspect they are somewhat 
afraid of the book in prospect, here; yet they grant the 
principle [of development]. Perrone has written a Treatise 
on the connection of Reason and Faith which I like very 
much. I am glad to see I have no view counter to it but 
there is the subtle question " whether a person need be 
conscious of his own certainty (faith) 33 &c., which I cannot 
find he answers, and I have asked him about it. ... 

' There is no doubt the Jesuits are the only persons here. 
They say, however, that the Dominicans are rising in Italy. You 
shall come and judge for yourself. You have plenty of cash. 

'I have just discovered that at p. 9 of my book I quote 
from my Prophetical Office a passage where I say that 
there is but probability for the existence of God. This 
would scandalize the Romans sadly. I might leave it 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 169 

out did it not seem to throw light upon other passages. 
What I meant was that the moral certainty which belief 
implied arose from probable not demonstrative arguments. 1 
Would a Preface of a few lines confined to the subject of 
probability be the best remedy? J 

Even apart from the reasons which finally decided 
Newman in his choice for the future, his letters show that the 
Oratorian plan was growing on him. Possibly the daily inter- 
course with Ambrose St. John, whose tastes were not intel- 
lectual, told in the Oratorian direction and against Dalgairns' 
idea of joining the Dominicans. Newman did not sym- 
pathise with the exclusive Thomism in theology and the 
French rigorism with which the Dominicans were associated. 
In one letter he avows that he could not join an order with 
a ' dominant imperious theology/ On the other hand, the 
Oratorians, essentially Italian, fell in with the gentler moral 
theology of St. Alfonso. 'You and St. John/ he writes to 
Dalgairns, 'must of course have a real influence on my 

f We have seen the Chiesa Nuova/ he writes to Dalgairns 
on December 31, 'and the Casa adjoining, with Theiner who 
said Mass with and for us and communicated us in the small 
room where St. Philip had his ecstasies. The "casa" is the 
most beautiful thing of the kind we have seen in Rome 
rather too comfortable, i.e. fine galleries for walking in summer, 
splendid orange trees &c. &c. If I wished to follow my bent, 
I should join them (the Oratorians) if I joined any. They 
have a good library, and handsome sets of rooms apparently. 
It is like a College with hardly any rule. They keep their 
own property, and furnish their own rooms. It is what Dr. 

1 W. G. Ward often pointed out that the language of modern Roman 
theologians on this subject was quite unlike that of the greatest scholastics, who 
fully recognised the difficulties attaching to the proof of Theism. In a letter to 
J. S. Mill, dated November 1848, he quotes the words of De Lugo, 'existentiam 
Dei vix potest eximius philosophus evidenter demonstrare,' and of Suarez, 
' Constat ex dictis magna consideratione et specuiatione opus esse ad veritatem 
hanc efficaciter persuadendum . . . Multi gentiles de hac re dubitarant . . . et 
nonnulli etiam fideles et docti negant earn veritatem esse evidentem' (W. G. 
Ward and the Catholic Revival, p. 27). The words of St. Thomas Aquinas are 
well known, 'If the way of reason were the only road open to the knowledge 
of God, the human race would remain in the greatest darkness of ignorance, 
since the true knowledge of God, the best means of making men perfect and 
good, would accrue only to a few after a long time* Contra Gentiles, i. 


Wiseman actually wishes, and really I should not wonder, if 
at last I felt strongly inclined to it, for I must own I feel the 
notion of giving up property try my faith very much. . . . 

'I have the greatest fear I am bamboozling myself when 
I talk of an order; and that, just as Anglicans talk of being 
Catholics but draw back when it comes to the point, so I, at 
my time of life, shall never feel able to give up property 
and take to new habits. Not that I should not do it, had 
I a clear call but it is so difficult to know what a clear 
call is. I do not know enough of the rule of the different 
congregations to have any opinion yet and again I do not 
think I could, religiously, do anything that Dr. Wiseman 
disapproved. . . . But as much as this I think I do see 
that I shall not be a Dominican. I shall be of a (so-called) 
lax school. Another great difficulty I have in thinking of 
a regular life, is my own previous history. When it comes 
upon me how late I am trying to serve the Church, the 
obvious answer is, Even saints, such as St. Augustine, St. 
Ignatius, did not begin in earnest till a late age. "Yes, but 
I am much older than they." So then I go on to think and 
to trust that my past life may form a sort of acfroppy and 
a ground of future usefulness. Having lived so long in 
Oxford, my name and person are known to a very great 
many people I do not know so are my books and I may 
have begun a work which I am now to finish. Now the 
question is whether as a regular I do not at once cut off all 
this, as becoming a sort of instrument of others, and so clean 
beginning life again. As a Jesuit e.g. no one would know 
that I was speaking my own words: or was a continuation, 
as it were, of my former self. On the other hand this matter 
of the Sermon and the Pope, of which St. John will tell you, 
seems to throw me off any direct assistance from the Pope 
and on to an order or congregation, if I am to be useful. 
Don't suppose I lay more stress on it than this, viz. that he 
may think me a person of little judgment, who has lived in a 
College all his days, and is not likely to do much directly for 
the conversion of the English. Had I time, I would tell 
you a notion, which I have thought it worth while to men- 
tion to Dr. Wiseman of our being a college in England de- 
pendent on Propaganda here, and as it were their servants. 
This would not be inconsistent with being Oratorians/ 

Ten days later he returns to the anxious question of the 
French translation of his Sermons and Essay. 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 171 

I am both surprised and pleased/ lie writes to Dalgairns, 
to hear what you say about my University Sermons for 
though I feel confident they are in the main Catholic, yet I 
doubted whether they did not require considerable alteration 
in the phraseology, as indeed I have hinted in the Preface. I 
still think they require explanation. . . . The truth is, I think 
people want preparing for the Essay by laying down prin- 
ciples which have long been familiar to our minds. . . . 

' Jan. ii. We have been hearing mass this morning in 
the very room of St. Francis (Assisi) in the Trastevere. The 
Superior is a learned man, one of the Congregation of the 
Index, and we had some interesting talk with him. He 
seemed to take it for granted we were to be -writers, and 
spoke most handsomely (on the information of a friend) of 
the " Lives of the Saints." He wished theology written as a 
whole and "con gusto/' not drily and by bits recommended 
St. Thomas, and no commentator (not Cajetan even, whom 
the Jesuits so recommended, as being dry) or if one, Billuart, 
whom Father Dominic recommended. St. Alfonso had no 
view collated opinions, put them down, gave his own, and 
that was all. Rosmini was an able, holy man a great 
friend of his own, but had made theology somewhat too philo- 
sophical, i.e. wished to prove everything. . . . He spoke of 
"the theologian" very much as I have spoken of "wisdom" or 
philosophy in my last Sermon but one. We hope to see him 
again. 'He is a great friend of Theiner's and has translated one 
of his works. By the bye, we went to the Oratory last night, 
and were very much disappointed to find it a simple concert, 
with hardly anything religious about it a short sermon a 
few prayers, people sitting the while. (7 P.M.) We were this 
evening at St. Andrea, the Theatine Church, to hear Father 
Ventura. The whole was just what we had hoped the Oratory 
would be; the Rosary, a clear, plain, dogmatic, powerful 
sermon and benediction; a large Church crowded. . . . 

'Jan. 12. It strikes me there may be a difficulty of 
getting the book published in Rome first it goes through 
three censors, which will cause delay next one is a 
Dominican "exofficio," as you know, and may be severe 
with it. It must be published by you in France. Again, 
which I am told here is very important for the Essay, you 
must find for the Sermons some authorities to put in notes 
"ad calcem." You once showed me, e.g. a passage of 
St. Bernard you may have some from St. Thomas and 
Nicolai's "smrnna" may give some from the Fathers, e.g. 


Tertullian says that the heathen called faith a "presumptio" 
perhaps, however, not in my sense of the word. And there 
is a passage about faith in Origen Contra Celsum i, 8 or 9. 
If, however, you will send me references, I will send you back 
the passages from hence. They should be short and criti- 
cally apposite. I have some at Maryvale. You must not 
think Father Passaglia at the Collegio Romano not a 
philosophical divine. I think he most probably is he has 
the appearance of it. They quite recognise here the dis- 
tinction between moral and demonstrative proof, but are 
jealous. I really do think I should, and do, agree with them 
fully. I discard Hermesianism &c., &c., as much as they, 
I may have used unguarded expressions, or been now and 
then extreme, but I think they (i.e. the Church, viewing it 
humanly), take a broad sensible shrewd view of reason and 
faith and I have ever wished to do the same and think I 
have so done. I will sketch a preface and send to you 
directly my volume comes to me from England. A great 
deal depends on a clear explanation what 7 mean by reason 
and by faith and the drift of the whole. The first sermon 
(on the Epiphany) is the most delicate. I should not wonder 
if I had to alter some bits.' 

It was perhaps Newman's keen sensitiveness to his 
surroundings, and his instinctive craving to persuade and 
desire to be understood, which made him write at this time 
his Latin treatises on St. Athanasius, as he found his English 
writings so imperfectly comprehended. They included a dry 
historical exhibition of the variations in the use of the terms 
finally employed in the definitions which fixed the doctrines 
of the Incarnation and Trinity a point of great importance 
to some of his arguments in the ' Development' Essay. 

In the letter to Dalgairns in which he announces the 
preparation of these treatises occurs one of those rare 
passages in which he betrays a keen consciousness of his 
own intellectual power. Evidently the work of revising the 
University Sermons had made him grasp their outcome with 
new vividness and realise their power as a whole: 


C I am terribly frightened lest the book [the French 
version of the University Sermons], like RosminFs and 
others, should be brought before the Index. Do they do 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 173 

so to Protestant books? no, therefore best keep all those 
allusions which show it was preached in Oxford. It seems 
hard, since nations now converse by printing, not in the 
schools, that an English Catholic cannot investigate truth 
with one of France or Rome without having the Inquisition 
upon him. What I say is, "I am not maintaining what I 
say is all true, but I wish to assist in investigating and 
bringing to light great principles necessary for the day 
and the only way to bring these out is freely to investi- 
gate, with the inward habitual intention (which I trust I 
have) always to be submitting what I say to the judgment 
of the Church. Could not this feeling be expressed in the 

'I will put down here, as I read thro' the Sermons, any 
thoughts which strike me, which will make the Preface. I 
quote from the Second Edition, but I believe there is not 
above a page difference between them. I may also include 
some independent thoughts for the Preface. 

'And now after reading these Sermons I must say I 
think they are, as a whole, the best things I have written, 
and I cannot believe that they are not Catholic, and will not 
be useful. Indeed these are the times (I mean after reading 
them and the like) that feelings come upon me, which do not 
often else, but then vividly I mean the feeling that I have 
not yet been done justice to but I must leave all this to 
Him who knows what to do with me. People do not know 
me and sometimes they half pass me by. It has been the 
portion of Saints, even; and well may be my portion. He 
who gives gifts, is the best judge how to use His own. 
He has the sole right to do as He will, and He knows what 
He is doing. Yet sometimes it is marvellous to me how my 
life is going, and I have never been brought out prominently 
and now I am likely less than ever for there seems 
something of an iron form here, tho' I may be wrong; but I 
mean, people are at no trouble to deepen their views. It is 

'What do you think of my being engaged in translating 
into Latin and publishing here 4 disputations from my 
Athanasius? i. On the 4th oration. 2. On the creed 
of Antioch. 3. On the vTroorracns &c. So it is you see 
I am determined to make a noise, if I can. It shan't be 
my fault if people think small-beer of me. Is not this 
ambitious? 7 . . . 


On February 14 Newman writes hesitating even as to 
the publication of the ^Sermons without a strong theological 
approval. He absolutely denies the coincidence of his theory 
with the fideism of Bautain; yet, as even Dalgairns thought 
that the two views were coincident, how could he hope to 
avoid suspicion? Again, Dr. Grant and Father Passaglia 
were reported to have been speaking against the 'Essay on 
Development.' He does not want a second 'row.' The 
trouble over the St. Isidore sermon had already tried him. 
C I don't like/ he writes, 'to begin my Catholic career with a 
condemnation and retractation,' The more peaceful prospect 
of practical work as an Oratorian definitely wins the day. 
He begins making suggestions for the personnel of the 
Oratory. He wants a 'good musician/ a 'good lay-brother/ 
a 'good cook.' 

St. John in an accompanying letter speaks of the 
Oratorian plan as practically decided and the idea of a 
theological college abandoned. The French translation of 
the Sermons, however, was ultimately published. St. John's 
words explain the situation clearly: 

'As to any other plan as of a Theological school there 
is no doubt it is too much for us poor converts at present. 
Even those who are most favourable to us I think feel it is 
and there is a party who would be up in arms at the idea. 
These people have tried Newman a great deal lately. 
Nothing is so harassing as to hear suspicions, and not to be 
able to get anything definite to act upon. And as far as I 
see Newman's game is to wait and let his book fight its 
own way. Come what will, it will never be pooh-poohed. 
Again it harasses him much to be lugged head and shoulders 
into controversy again. The truth is to be brief we want the 
Church to back us in England against prejudices. In all 
practical work we shall be backed most heartily and as 
to Dr. Griffiths or the old Catholics they are not, between 
ourselves, in good odour here at all. The Pope, Cardinal 
Franzoni, Mgr. Brunelli one and all complain of the state 
of London &c. Here then we are sure of support; but in 
theology all as yet is quite uncertain. 3 

Such difficulties were perhaps inevitable considering the 
extreme slowness of Rome to admit even novelty of 
expression in theology. Moreover, Newman thought that 

MILAN AND ROME (1846-1847) 175 

the history of Lamennais, who after being honoured by 
Leo XII. had ultimately left the Catholic Church, had 
increased the traditionary fear of originality. 'They can't 
forget that they burnt their fingers over Lamennais/ he said. 
However, as we shall see, Newman arrived later on at 
a satisfactory modus vivendi with Father Perrone. But the 
unanimous and cordial Roman support for his views which 
he regarded as a sine qua non to undertaking the teaching of 
theology was clearly, as has been already intimated, not at 
the time forthcoming. 



THOUGH the plan of being secular priests and Oratorians 
rather than" Jesuits or Friars was not formally determined on 
until the middle of February, it was clearly outlined a month 
earlier in the correspondence of Newman and St. John with 


'Collegio di Propaganda: January 15, 1847. 

'. . . How would it suit us to be Oratorians? First, we 
must give up our Dominican notion of teachers of divinity in 
schools or of classics or philosophy. The Oratorian^ rule does 
not admit of it. ... Secondly we must be located in a town. 
These are two conditions which seem to me plainly un- 
avoidable, if we are to be Oratorians at all And now to 
see how we can adjust ourselves to them. 

'First, the Oratorian duties take up only a portion of the 
time of the members and having much time to themselves 
they can be learned men, as in the case of Baronius ^&c. &c. 
And Baronius it seems connected his learned pursuits with 
serving the Hospitals. ... I confess that, as far as I am 
concerned, I should prefer much a season given to active 
duties before returning to my books. Next I conceive that 
the plan of the Oratory needs altering, in order to adapt it 
to the state of England, and this alteration would be in 
favour of study. St. Philip met with his brethren ^ three 
hours a day, and all comers were admitted. A spiritual 
book gave rise first to some remark, then to a ^dialogue 
then to a sermon. Now I should prefer meeting in this way 
only on Sundays and other festivals, and giving the discussion 
somewhat more of an intellectual character. On festivals 
it might also be, or at least embrace, the discussion which 
would be found in a mechanics' institute, indeed I should 
wish at any rate the Oratorio to include the functions 
of a Mechanics' Institute ^mong its duties. Q# Sundays, 


when English habit would not bear mere science or 
literature, the matter, which was the a<f>oppyj of the discussion, 
might be Butler's Lives, Ecclesiastical History, a spiritual 
book &c. &c. First then would come music, then the read- 
ing, then an objection upon it; e.g. "This saint gave up his 
property I don't see the good of this"; or "I can't make out 
that there was time enough between the deluge and Exodus 
for this formation of language"; or " These Mahometans 
seem as good people as Catholics"; or "These discoveries 
in the stars seem to shake one's faith in the special connection 
of the human race with the Creator," &c. &c. Then would 
follow a debate, ending perhaps in a sermon, if there was 
not too much of it. The whole should end either with the 
Rosary, or Litany, and with music too in some way or other. 
Out of the persons who came a confraternity should gradually 
be formed, chiefly of course of young persons, and confession 
and directions would come in. Now pause a while. First 
it is plain that such a work would come easy to ten or twelve 
persons and there would be much time over for reading &c. 
e.g. for Penny. It would be work in the way of reading. It 
would afford room for lecturing and disputation which may be 
my line; for preaching, which is (one of) yours; for taking care 
of young people, which is St. John's; for science which may 
be Christie's, for music which is Formby's and Walker's. 
Though it does not embrace schools for higher lore or 
theology as such, it comes as near both as is possible without 
actually being either. To proceed: St. John and I feel 
London has particular claims on us; how is this reconcilable 
with our position at Maryvale? thus: I would begin in 
Birmingham, but only by opening such a mere oratorio as I 
have described. You will observe I have said nothing about 
a Church. The circumstances of Birmingham make a Church 
undesirable. We might there be a mere appendage^to the 
Cathedral and might make our experiment near home on 
this small scale. If it succeeded, or if from local circum- 
stances it did not, we might propagate ourselves or migrate 
to London (keeping of course Maryvale) and there attempt 
to get both Church and Oratorio. Meanwhile, while we 
were at Birmingham, the Oratorio might be open from 
October to June and during the summer months the 
Confraternity might march out on holydays to Maryvale, 
and we might have the stations in the garden. . . . 

'St. John will transcribe the greater part of this for 
Dr. Wiseman, and will ask him to show it to Penny.' 


St. John adds a postscript: 

i Newman has never told you that it is part of the 
Oratory rule to flog, I think in public hut in the dark during 
Lent for edification. If this xule is essential and cannot be 
abolished, he says he will put you and our Irish John in front 
as the best floggers whilst he and Walter retire to the rear 
and lay on gently behind a screen. Our John by the bye is 
a regular good fellow, quite a prop in Maryvale at present. 5 

( Collegio di Propaganda: Jan. 22, 1847, 

<I am diligently analysing St. Philip's rule and in the 
course of doing so yesterday and this morning this fact broke 
upon me that the rule, though embodying the one idea we 
are contemplating, viz. a body of priests labouring in the 
conversion of great towns, (yet with time for literary works), 
the rule, I say, was in almost all its parts perfectly unsuited 
to a country of heretics and Saxons. E.g. four sermons 
running every day, disciplining before or with a congregation, 
going in a troop from Church to Church, sitting down on 
grass and singing, getting by heart a finished composition 
&c. &c. Then again I found that the Pope had forbidden 
all alterations of St. Philip's rule, and the appropriation of 
the name of St. Philip by bodies making such alterations. 
This posed me and I thought no time was to be lost 
in ascertaining how the truth lay. St. John then was bold 
and good enough to go to Theiner (I suppose you know his 
name, the continuator of Baronius, an Oratorian) with the 
purpose of stating generally that he had friends in England 
who contemplated the erection of an Oratory in one of our 
large towns, but that the above seemed a difficulty in their 
way. He has just returned, and will give you himself an 
account of his mission which has been most satisfactory. 
He says Theiner has been most excessively kind, but is rather 
an unmethodical talker, does not listen or enter into one's 
meaning, and seems to have little tact. This by the way. But 
now, enter St. John, solus. (Applause.) 

1 Yes/ writes St. John on the same sheet of paper, * Theiner 
is most kind upon all occasions, but he is not a Jesuit, and 
this quite accounts for all want of tact &c: so I cannot 
be a Jesuit. Mind you I mean to make this proviso upon 
all occasions, you are never henceforward in my presence to 
express unqualified approbation of anything that is not of or 
belonging to the Society. On this condition, perhaps^ I may 


consent to live in the same house with you. And now for 
my mission. 

'Theiner began by asking about Newman &c. upon 
which I took occasion to say that he had been very much 
interested in reading the Annals of the Congregation which 
he had lent us; one thing had occurred to us, it appeared 
there had been at one time a house of Oratorians in Germany, 
and we wished to know whether that had been obliged to 
adopt any modification in a country which was so unlike 
Italy. He did not know anything about the order in 
Germany, but modifications of the rule had continually been 
made. St. Philip had governed his congregation without any 
rule intentionally, because as he (St. Philip) said, rules were 
means to a religious life but did not constitute it, he seems to 
have been afraid of his children becoming formal: still as this 
could not go on during his life he directed Baronius to write 
a rule. Still, notwithstanding this, I understood him to say 
that the spirit of St. Philip had been preserved rather by 
tradition than by letter. . . . Study is quite one of its 
objects, e.g. Baronius and now Theiner himself: tho' they 
never have made much of their learned men. When Baronius 
brought his first volume to St. Philip very handsomely bound 
as a sort of tribute to him as Superior, St. Philip took it up, 
and whist! away it went to the other end of the room on the 
floor and the only praise he got was: "now go down into 
the Church and hear three masses.' 7 So at present they say 
of Theiner himself: "Father Theiner is very much talked of 
out of doors for his learning, but he is no such great shakes 
after all"; and he has to go down from his studies and teach 
little children at times. All this I heard from Theiner himself. 
If ever there was a Saint who set his face against humbug it 
was St. Philip. Fancy his sending a smart spruce noble 
youth to a public house with a most enormously large bottle 
and a piece of gold to buy a pen'orth of wine! 

'Feb. 2nd. You see I have waited a long time for a 
letter from you, but none comes and I shall go on. A great 
deal has occurred this last week. I hope we shall not take 
away your breath, i. I have been dining with the Oratorians, 
and can answer for their observance of their rule in the 
Refectory. . . . They gave me the idea of simple amiable men 
whose life had been passed in the house and the Confessional. 
This corresponds with what we hear of them as good Con- 
fessors and nothing more. Not great preachers, not learned, 
with the exception of Theiner. This at present is all the 


information I have gained personally. Now open your ears. 
Newman has been turning the thing over and over in his 
mind, and at last wrote down in a Latin letter to the 
Cardinal his whole view as he drew it but roughly for you; 
explaining by the bye the state of our large towns, the 
position of our house with regard to Birmingham, our 
feelings about London itself &c. &c. and concluding with 
an appeal "successor! Piscatoris et discipulo Cruds" against 
the jealous inertia of certain old Catholics in England. I 
assure you he came out in that letter. Well Newman took 
it to Mgr. Brunelli, Secretary of Propaganda, who after 
two days' consideration began to us: "Mi piace im- 
mensamente"; it is C ben ideata," and this -he repeated 
three or four times. Then he went thro' the several parts 
of it approving as he went on, and admitting that the 
application of the Oratory in England would require certain 
alterations so as to make it take with a sharp manufacturing 
population. He told us we must at once take it to the 
Cardinal (which we have since done) and after they had 
prosed together about it, and it had become matured, he 
would take it to the Pope, who doubtless would give us a 
Brief for the establishment of a House in Birmingham 
observing St. Philip's rule with such external alterations as 
would be required, He said also "you will require means to 
carry this out/ 3 ' 

A glow of excitement appears in Newman's and St. 
John's letters towards the end of February. It appeared 
that the Holy Father was delighted with the Oratorian plaa. 
The coldness at the Vatican real or imagined which had 
followed the sermon at St. Isidore's, had evidently passed 
away. Pius IX. was not contented with approving he made 
his own suggestion. Let the English, he proposed, have a 
noviciate in Rome. He named a friend of his own as a 
likely person to act as their Superior. 

The proposal gave general pleasure. Among those 
specially interested was a remarkable man with whom in 
later life Newman was destined to be closely connected 
Dr. Ullathorne, afterwards Bishop of Birmingham, and at 
that time Vicar Apostolic, who was in Rome negotiating the 
establishment of the future English hierarchy. 

St. John and Newman both write the news to Dalgairns. 
Newman sets his imagination at work. The social element 


is needed at the Oratory. So he tries to think of recruits 
who are something more than devout priests. 

Their letters are on the same sheet Ambrose St. John's 
coming first: 


'Propaganda. Rome: St. Matthias. 

'The Pope has taken us up most warmly, not merely 
approving, but advising and assisting. When Mgr. Brunelli 
took him Newman's paper last Sunday evening, he said the 
project seemed to him not only good in itself, but adapted 
to ourselves; what he actually knows of us I cannot say, 
perhaps more than I think. Next, he saw there would be a 
difficulty in taking an Oratorian with us to England, yet 
withal the necessity of having the traditions orally and 
practically. So he threw out a suggestion of his own, not 
however wishing it to be more than a suggestion; "why" he 
said, "should they not all, as many as can, come to Rome, 
we would find them a house, and after going through the 
Exercises together, and passing a sort of Noviciate under an 
Oratorian Father who would 'pro tempore' be their Superior, 
all go back together." He then mentioned Father Caradori 
of Ricanati with whom he is personally acquainted and who 
he said would be just the person to superintend us if he could 
come; if not he directed Mgr. Brunelli to write to the 
Bishops of Ricanati and Fermo to enquire if out of the 
houses in their dioceses they could send such a Superior as 
we should require. The time Mgr. mentioned to me was a 
few months, though of course when the Pope acts, we must 
not bargain. On the whole the advantages are so obvious if 
we follow the Holy Father's advice, and it will be such a 
settler to all future opposition here or at home, that Newman 
is at once determined to act upon it. He has written to Dr. 
Wiseman, to whom the Pope wished we should refer. . . . 
Those whom we have spoken to express such interest in 
the plan, particularly Dr. Ullathorne, who by the bye has a 
great deal in him, and will be a very useful ally: he takes to 
Newman much, and has been recommending his sermons. . . . 
Newman has been slaving like a horse and in the midst of his 
thoughts about the Oratory has translated into Latin his four 
long notes to St. Athanasius. They will make some 70 or 80 
pages. I hope and trust it will teach people a thing or two/ 

Newman's letter follows: 


'Feb. 24. 

'Here I have nothing to say and the paper not full. 
Please bring from France some little sixpenny keepsakes 
for me to give away to the youths here e.g. beads, little 
crucifixes &c. &c. They will be valued more as coming from 
a distance. We are now musing over our need of com- 
panions who have a good deal of fun in them for that will 
especially be wanted in an Oratory. Fat Marshall, I don't 
think you saw him, is the kind of man to please boys and 
young men, and keep them together. Learning and power 
of preaching will not be enough for us. St. John suggests 
Irishmen they have wit and fun. ... I should like a 
regular good mimic, who (if we dare suffer it) would take off 
the great Exeter Hall guns. What stuff I am writing. If we 
have not spirit, it will be like bottled beer with the cork out.' 

The latest news is added by St. John on March 2 : 
'I have just come from Mgr.'s who had mentioned to the 
Pope Newman's accordance with his wish to bring more of 
our party here. The Pope was much pleased and im- 
mediately counted us all his own property. "Let them write 
to their friends at once, to come as soon as they can after 
Easter." Newman thinks you had better set off not later 
than the end of Easter week. As to the house the Pope has 
one in his eye, "bellissimo sito" Mgr. says, whether in Rome 
or not I know not. The Oratorian Father they will look 
out for themselves. So, literally, nothing remains except to 
collect all together as fast as we can. What will be done 
about our Ordination we do not as yet know.' 

Dalgaims, Bowles, Stanton, Coffin, and Penny soon 
joined their friends in Rome with a view to a quasknoviciate 
before returning to England. 

For a time the Holy Father talked of ultimately giving 
the Englishmen the great Oratorian House at Malta. For the 
present they were assigned rooms in Santa Croce, which they 
furnished themselves, leading there a far freer life than 
they had led at Propaganda. 

'Pius IX. chose Santa Croce as the place where we should 
all go/ writes Mr. Bowles in a letter to a friend, 'the Pope 
himself calling it un lei sito a beautiful situation, which it 
certainly was We were then Newman, St. John, Penny, 
Dalgairns, Coffin, Stanton, and myself. We had a whole 
wing of the monastery on the upper floor to ourselves with a 


kitchen and man cook, an Italian named Michele, as servant, 
and a dining room to ourselves on the ground floor. Father 
Rossi was appointed, by the Pope, from the Oratory in Rome, 
to be our Novice Master. He also had his room on the same 
floor, and there was a recreation room also, which was also 
the Chapel, with an Altar in it.' 

It was understood that the Englishmen were to visit the 
Oratory at Naples and elsewhere, to learn the working and 
spirit of the congregation, before their formal beginning in 
England. A special intimacy grew up between Monsignor 
Palma and Newman and St. John: Pius IX., even amid 
the distractions of that turbulent and anxious time, was all 
kindness and thoughtfulness. 

A letter from Newman to Mr. David Lewis gives New- 
man's feelings as to the immediate prospect and shows him 
wistfully mindful of old friends at home: 

'Collegio Propaganda: Ascension Day, 1847. 

' In | an hour I and St. John are going in for our examina- 
tion in a few days we expect to be Ordained Sub-Deacons, 
and by the end of a month we are to be Priests, and perhaps 
placed altogether in our new abode which is at the Bernadine 
Convent at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. This Basilica 
is so called, because St. Helena, not only brought the True 
Cross there, but earth from Mount Calvary on which the 
Chapel or the Altar there is built thus if there be a centre 
of the Church, we shall be there, when we are on earth from 
Jerusalem in the midst of Rome. The Pope is constant in 
his thought of us, and when we ask anything says, "Siano 
tranquilli I will do all." ... I don't know at all what 
the papers say, as I see none but the Tablet which is 
generally too full of Irish news to give the English gossip. 
Then as to [Arthur] Stanley, I did not know he had 
been preaching Sermons are they bumptious? Are they 
printed? are they against the book of Daniel? or do they 
prove Moses to be a Turk? or Abraham to be a Myth? 
Something strong it must be which has touched the sensibility 
of the Heads and which Heads? Has old Faussett roared, 
or old Golius been whispering? or has he come across the 
new professor of Exegetics? All these are questions quite 
beyond me. As to Sibthorp, I see the Tablet announces his 
return to the Church absolutely. Perhaps you have heard 
that Dr. Wiseman and Dr. Grant are on their road, being it 


is said, on important matters, as a deputation from the 

On May 22 St. John and Newman underwent their 
examination for orders; on the 26th they were ordained sub- 
deacons by Cardinal Franzoni in his private chapel, in the 
presence of their companions; the diaconate and priesthood 
following on the 2gth and 3oth. The Malta scheme was 
abandoned owing to the objection of the local Bishop. The 
diary records this month visits to Perrone, to the Passionists, 
to the General of the Jesuits, to the Archbishop of Besangon, 
who was in Rome, and to Monsignor Palma, who had 
succeeded Monsignor Brunelli as secretary to Propaganda, 
Newman says Mass one day in June (the 8th) in St. Ignatius' 
room at the Gesu, another (the ijth) in St. Philip's room at 
the Chiesa Nuova. The intimacy with both Perrone and 
Theiner grew; and St. John reports that l Newman and 
Perrone have struck up a great friendship they embrace 
each other/ 

In point of fact, Newman, although he had abandoned the 
idea of teaching theology and further pressing the arguments 
in his work on Development, was still extremely anxious to 
secure the imprimatur of Perrone for his theory. And this 
important matter of technical theology divided his attention 
with the plans for a future Oratory in England. They had 
much discussion together, and Newman wrote a summary of 
his argument in Latin and sent it to Perrone. 1 

The result was satisfactory, for Perrone' s main objection 
was confined to Newman's expression 'new dogmas' in place 
of 'new definitions.' Newman was using the phrase ' dogma 7 
to denote the explicit intellectual concept expressed in a new 
definition. Perrone seems to have taken it as tantamount to 

1 With the MS. he sent the following letter: 'Ad Reverendum Pattern 
Perrone, S.J., Ecce ad te mitto, vir spectatissime, ilia, quae a me pro tu4 solita 
"benevolentia petiisti; longiora tamen, credo, quam pro tu maxima, patientia 
sperasti. Sed difficile est etiam prolixi tractatione simplicem rem aliquam, 
obscuram certe ant novam, expedite. Si notulis hie et illic in margine positis, 
hor quadam vacua, si vacuam habes, iudicium de hisce meis tuleris, lucro a me 
erit apponendum. Spero me non errasee, sed in huiusmodi materie facilius est 
sperasse quam nosse; id solum profitebor, decantatum licet, "errare possum, 
haereticus esse nolo." 

f Tui observantissimus &c. 



new truth added to what was at first revealed to the Church. 
This was a difference almost entirely of expression. In 
principle they agreed. Both held that the 'deposit of the 
Faith 3 once for all committed to the Church was so given that 
Christians were not explicitly conscious of all its intellectual 
implications, which were subsequently defined. The ' dogma 7 
was given once for all, but its explication, which made it more 
distinctly understood by the faithful, was a matter of time. 

Perrone's summary of his own criticism on Newman's 
tractate is appended to the MS., and runs thus: 

'What I have above noted may be reduced to the 
following: (i) that the Church was always conscious of 
the whole depositum committed to her of all the truths 
of faith, (2) that this depositum was committed to her as it 
were in a block and as one revelation, (3) that the truths 
of faith are not capable of increase in themselves but only of 
more explicit exposition, (4) that therefore these truths do 
not grow materially (as the schools speak) and in themselves, 
but only in relation to our fuller comprehension of them 
and more distinct knowledge by the definition of the Church, 
and, as it is generally expressed, not in relation to themselves 
but in relation to us.' l 

Newman held that this criticism substantially left his 
position untouched; for if the difference between explicit 
and implicit knowledge, between the later dogma as defined 
in distinct dogmatic propositions and the earlier dogma given 
to the Church as a block and as one revelation, might be so 
great as to permit (asPerrone held) the definition of the 
Immaculate Conception, which was long denied by some of 
the best theologians to be part of the original deposit given 
'as a block,' it might well cover all he had said in his Essay. 

1 The translation in the text is somewhat free, and I append Perrone's own 
words: 'Quae hactenus adnotavi revocari possunt ad insequentia: ac i quod 
ecclesia semper habuerit conscientiam totius deposit! divinitus sibi commissi 
omnium veritatum fidei 2 quod hoc depositum in solidum ac veluti per 
modum unius eidem ecclesiae commissum f uerit 3 quod veritates fidei in se non 
sunt capaces increment!, sed solum magis explicitae expositionis 4 C quod 
propterea veritates istae non crescant materialiter, ut loquuntur scholae, et in se, 
sed solum in ordine ad nostram maiorem cognitionem, seu magis distinctam 
illarum notitiam per ecclesiae definitionem, et ut dicitur non quoad se sed quoad 


He re-expressed his general theory in 1849 as follows, using 
the terminology of Perrone: 

'It is well known that, though the creed of the Church 
has been one and the same from the beginning, yet it has 
been so deeply lodged in her bosom as to be held by 
individuals more or less implicitly instead of being delivered 
from the first in those special statements, or what are called 
definitions, under which it is now presented to us, and which 
preclude mistake or ignorance. These definitions which are 
but the expression of portions of the one dogma which 
has ever been received by the Church, are the work of time; 
they have grown to their present shape and number in 
the course of eighteen centuries, under the exigency of 
successive events, such as heresies and the like, and 
they may of course receive still further additions as time 
goes on. Now this process of doctrinal development, as you 
might suppose, is not of an accidental or random character, 
it is conducted upon laws, as everything else which comes 
from God; and the study of its laws and of its exhibition, 
or, in other words, the science and history of the formation 
of theology, was a subject which had interested me more 
than anything else from the time I first began to read 
the Fathers, and which had engaged my attention in a 
special way. Now it was gradually brought home to me, in 
the course of my reading, so gradually, that I cannot trace 
the steps of my conviction, that the decrees of later councils, 
or what Anglicans call the Roman corruptions, were but 
instances of that very same doctrinal law which was to be 
found in the history of the early Church; and that in the 
sense in which the dogmatic truth of the prerogatives of the 
Blessed Virgin may be said, in the lapse of centuries, to have 
grown upon the consciousness of the faithful, in that same 
sense did, in the first age, the mystery of the Blessed Trinity 
also gradually shine out and manifest itself more and more 
completely before their minds. Here was at once an answer 
to ' the objections urged by Anglicans against the present 
teaching of Rome; and not only an answer to objections, but 
a positive argument in its favour; for the immutability and 
uninterrupted action of the laws in question throughout the 
course of Church history is a plain note of identity between 
the Catholic Church of the first ages and that which now 
goes by that name; just as the argument from the analogy 
of natural and revealed religion is at once an answer to 
difficulties in the latter, and a direct proof that Christianity 


has the same Author as the physical and moral world. But 
the force of this, to me ineffably cogent argument, I cannot 
hope to convey to another. 5 1 

The intercourse with Perrone was of great importance for 
the future, for Newman could always remember that when he 
had talked out his views he had found substantial agreement 
between them, except that Perrone was unwilling to say c yea' 
or 'nay' on certain questions, and did not carry his analysis 
to the point which Newman's penetrating mind desired. 

But communications between them were naturally inter- 
mittent and the practical prospects of the future Oratorians 
occupied Newman's attention very closely. 

Much was expected from Dr. Wiseman's visit to Rome in 
July in the direction of maturing plans for the future. He 
came to see Newman at Santa Croce on the 24th. The Brief 
for the English Oratory was prepared that week and left 
with Monsignor Palma on August 4. On the Qth Pius IX. 
came in person to visit them at Santa Croce. Wiseman 
chanced to be there, and a visit to the Oratory at Naples was 
planned for Newman and St. John. It was arranged more- 
over that Newman should go with Wiseman in the following 
week to the country house of the English College of Monte 
Porzio in the lovely country near Tusculum. This would be 
an opportunity for arranging further details. But once again 
came disappointment, for the political disturbances of the 
time caused Wiseman to be sent off suddenly to England on 
a semi-diplomatic mission to the British Government. 

A note to Henry Wilberforce at this time shows New- 
man's feeling of uncertainty as to the future, and at the 
same time his calm trustfulness that the i kindly light' will be 
with him, and that Providence will mark out his further 


'Santa Croce in Gerusalemme: August n, 1847. 

'St. John has given me to seal this, though he has not 
signed his name. You shall soon hear from me. It rejoiced 
me to see your handwriting. It is quite wonderful to see 
how wonderfully we have been protected through the 

1 See Difficulties of Anglicans, I. pp. 344-346. In a letter to W. G. Ward, 
written in the same year, he proposes writing further on the subject if he could 
get Perrone to revise his work. ' I would not do it without the highest sanction/ 
he writes. 'You see the Pope has in a way taken up Perrone.' 


summer here, which is now waning ? though autumn, as 
Horace tells me, is the more fatal time. We do not deserve 
such protection, but I hope St. Mary and St. Philip will stand 
by us still. "Lead Thou me on" is quite as appropriate to 
my state as ever, for what I shall be called to do when I get 
back, or how I shall be used, is quite a mystery to me/ 

The visit to Naples was on the 2oth, and after a night at 
an hotel they took lodgings in the Via Pasquale, and made 
Naples their headquarters for a fortnight. They spent 
much time with the Oratorians. 'Most of them are young, 
lively, pleasant persons, 7 Newman reports to Frederic Bowles. 
'They seem all gentlemen or nearly all ... one old father 
of 89 had had two conversations with St. Alfonso/ The 
Englishmen rowed to Baiae, visited Virgil's tomb, went to 
Nocera and Amalfi; Newman said Mass over St. Andrew's 
body at Amalfi. They inspected Pompeii and climbed Vesu- 
vius on August 31. Newman was urged by the Oratorian 
fathers to stay for the Feast of St. Januarius. He was un- 
able to do so, but satisfied himself of the genuineness of the 
famous miracle. Going Homewards by Capua they visited 
the great Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino, whence they 
travelled by diligence to Rome on the September 7. 

To Henry Wilberforce ten days later he gives some 
account of the visit to Naples: 

'Santa Croce: Sept. 17, 1847. 

'I should have written before, but St. John and I have 
been at Naples, and our time, as you o may guess, not 
quite our own for writing letters. We went there, among 
other reasons, to see the Oratory of the place, which was 
founded in St. Philip's time. It is a magnificent Church, 
Sacristy, and House and beats the Roman, fine as the 
House of the Chiesa Nuova here is. And we were very 
much pleased with the clergy who inhabit it most of them 
were young men and very intelligent and inquisitive about 
England. We liked all the clergy we saw there we were 
introduced to the Cardinal Archbishop, a young man of 33 
saw a good deal of the Jesuits, who are a wonderfully striking 
body of men, and about whom I could write you a good 
deal. I have a very clear idea of the said Jesuits, as far as it 
goes, and of their position. . . . When we were there the feast 
of St. Gennaro was coming on (it is the day after to-morrow, 
the i Qth) and they were eager for us to stop they have the 


utmost confidence in the miracle and were the more eager, 
because many Catholics, till they have seen it, doubt it. 
Our father director here tells us that before he went to 
Naples, he did not believe it. That is, they have vague ideas 
of natural means, exaggeration, &c., not of course imputing 
fraud. They say conversions often take place in consequence. 
It is exposed for the Octave, and the miracle continues it 
is not simple liquefaction, but sometimes it swells, sometimes 
boils, sometimes melts no one can tell what is going to take 
place. They say it is quite overcoming and people cannot 
help crying to see it. I understand that Sir H. Davy 
attended every day, and it was this extreme variety of the 
phenomenon which convinced him that nothing physical 
would account for it. Yet there is this remarkable fact that 
liquefactions of blood are common at Naples and unless it 
is irreverent to the Great Author of Miracles to be obstinate 
in the inquiry, the question certainly rises whether there is 
something in the air. (Mind, I don't believe there is and, 
speaking humbly, and without having seen it, think it a true 
miracle but I am arguing.) We saw the blood of St. Patrizia, 
half liquid, i.e. liquefying, on her feast day. St. John Baptist's 
blood sometimes liquefies on the 2Qth of August, and did when 
we were at Naples, but we had not time to go to the Church. 
We saw the liquid blood of an Oratorian Father, a good man, 
but not a Saint, who died two centuries ago, I think; and 
we saw the liquid blood of Da Ponte, the great and Holy 
Jesuit, who, I suppose, was almost a saint. But these instances 
do not account for liquefaction on certain days, if this is the 
case. But the most strange phenomenon is what happens at 
Ravello, a village or town above Amalfi. There is the blood 
of St. Pantaleon. It is in a vessel amid the stone work of 
the Altar it is not touched but on his feast in June it 
liquefies. And more, there is an excomjnunication against 
those who bring portions of the True Cross into the Church. 
Why? because the blood liquefies, whenever it is brought. A 
person I know, not knowing the prohibition, brought in a 
portion and the Priest suddenly said, who showed the 
blood, "Who has got the Holy Cross about him?" I tell 
you what was told me by a grave and religious man. It is a 
curious coincidence that oh telling this to our Father Director 
here, he said "Why we have a portion of S. Pantaleone's 
blood at the Chiesa Nuova, and it is always liquid.'' 

'I must say I like what I saw of the Naples clergy. I 
never agreed in Froude's view of the priest's laughing 


la the Confessional, which I saw as well as he; but he 
would not give in to me. Indeed, though of course there 
are bad men everywhere, I think the priests in every 
country I know about, are most exemplary. Think of how 
they are dying in England, cut off by the fever not by 
chance, but one succeeding another in the same post, 
just like soldiers in a battle eight in Liverpool alone 
four or five in Leeds, and going down with the con- 
sciousness beforehand it was to be a martyrdom. Mr. 
Spencer's aad Burdens case are very remarkable in another 
way. Mr. Spencer had become a Passionist ; Burder (of 
Magdalen Hall) a Trappist two of the very strictest orders 
of the Church. They had accordingly a long noviciate each, 
and wished it to be shortened and to be irrevocably bound to 
their order. Each took the fever aad received (I believe) 
the last Sacraments. Considered to be dying, they were 
allowed to take the vows and receive the habit in their "last 
minutes and then both recovered. Thus they have cheated 
as it were their rule of noviciate. Many other touching 
things have come to my knowledge, or across me, since I 
became a Catholic. Last year Sir Edward Vavasour 
called on me at Maryvale and I had some pleasant talk 
with him. He was a most amiable person, and talked in 
an amusing way of his surprise at two of his daughters 
having lately taken the veil. What he was thinking of 
came out soon. In a few months he gave up all his pro- 
perty to his son, and became a poor " Christian Brother" 
a set of laity who teach poor-schools. Well, Bishop Wilson 
(not Daniel) tempted him to come to Rome, and they were 
to join company at Marseilles; when the news reached the 
Bishop at Marseilles of his sudden death on his journey. 
Near Dijon, he had got out of the diligence to walk up a hill, 
and suddenly died. No one knew at first whether he was a 
Catholic or Protestant being English, it was presumed he 
was the latter, but on stripping him for burial they found 
some medals &c. upon him, and a discipline in his pocket. 
What joy to the poor Curate to find a brother in the dead! 
and for him it seemed as if he had been tried whether he would 
make the sacrifice of giving up his all, and then taken away 
without the labour and sorrow which it involved. I could run 
on, but must stop. As to Oxford, is it not ominous, consider- 
ing the new House of Commons, that the British Association 
has met there! It met there in 1832 and just before the 
attempt to throw the University open to Dissenters/ 


On October 6 there is an interesting entry in Newman's 
diary, of a visit with Dr. Grant afterwards Bishop of South- 
wark and Bowles to Monte Porzio, and of the information 
given by the prelate that the new hierarchy for England was 
'determined and known. 7 Thus this decision, which created 
such a stir when acted upon in 1850, was public property for 
two whole years without arousing any opposition whatever. 

Those of the little group who were not yet priests were 
now preparing for ordination. On October 12 Penny and 
Coffin passed their examination for holy orders, and they 
received the diaconate on the 24th and the priesthood on the 
3 1 st. On the 28th Newman and St. John kept the anniver- 
sary of their arrival in Rome, walking to St. Peter's and 
saying Mass, one at St. Leo's altar, the other at St. Gregory's. 
It was at this time that Newman wrote his story illustrative 
of the Oxford of the later phase of the Movement, c Loss 
and Gain.' The actors in the drama hailed the book as a 
perfect representation of the Oxford society of those days 
but the great leader was absent from the picture. The 
author's enjoyment of this task is illustrated by an anecdote 
told by Mr. Kegan Paul in his c Biographical Sketches': 
'A friend, also a convert, related not long since how, in the 
winter of 1847, he was a very constant visitor to Dr. Newman 
and was puzzled at finding him so frequently laughing to 
himself over the manuscript on which he was then engaged, 
till he said: "You do not know what I have been doing. 
Poor Burns, the late High Church publisher, a convert like 
ourselves, has got into difficulties, owing to his change of 
faith and I am going to give him this manuscript to see if 
it may not help him a little out of them. " ' 1 Four months of 
noviciate were considered sufficient, and their visit to the 
Eternal City was now approaching its termination. Stanton 
and Dalgairns left on November 12, Coffin on the 27th, 
Penny and Bowles a few days later. The few days which 
elapsed before St. John and Newman followed them were 
spent in leave-taking and in the final arrangement of the 
Brief for the new Oratory. Manning and Sidney Herbert 
came to Rome just before Newman left the city, and meetings 
with both of them are recorded. On December 3 Newman 
1 C. K. Paul, Biographical Sketches (1883), pp. 201, 202. 


went, in company with, a new novice, Francis Knox, and St. 
John, to bid farewell to the Holy Father at the Quirinal 
and finally to present his Brief in its completed form. 
On the 6th he started homewards with St. John, travelling 
by Loretto. 

Pius IX. was 'most paternal 7 so Newman writes to 
Dalgairns 'and Knox was in raptures. The Pope called 
him Padre Francesco, and Knox declares he won't part 
with it.' The Pontiff on this occasion gave Newman an 
opportunity for describing their prospects in England, but 
Newman's very limited Italian made the conversation come 
to little. 

They stopped at Civita Castellana and Foligno, reach- 
ing Loretto on the evening of the gth. On the loth both 
St. John and Newman said Mass at the Holy House, going 
on from thence to Ancona and Fano, where they called on 
Cardinal Wiseman's mother, who was staying on a visit to 
her daughter, Contessa Gabrielli. 

Bologna and Verona were also halting-places, and after 
a night at Innsbruck they reached Munich on the i8th and 
took tea with Dollinger before proceeding to Wiirzburg and 

From Frankfort they passed to Cologne and thence by 
rail to Ostend, where they slept, on the 23rd crossing to 
Dover, and going on to London on Christmas Eve. On 
New Year's day Newman said his first Mass at Maryvale. 

A brief letter to Henry Wilberforce tells of the journey 
from Rome, of the visit to the Holy House of Loretto, and 
of his return to the new home, dedicated to Sancta Maria in 
Valle, before Christmas tide, with its sacred associations, was 
gone by: 

'Mary Vale, Perry Bar: January 12, 48. 

( My dearest Henry, Thank you for your congratulations. 
St. John and I got back on Christmas Eve; so we began our 
English life with the Nativity, saying Mass first in England 
on that blessed day, as I had said it first of all at Rome on 
the F. of Corpus Christi. They are cognate feasts, and the 
first and the last in the ecclesiastical year. I stayed a week 
in London, and came down here Dec. 31, saying my first 
Mass here on New Year's Day. 

'We ran, as I may say, all the way from Bologna, fearing 


first lest the Alps should be closed next anxious to get here 
by Christmas Day, and I took, as I had hoped, my dear 
godson Chas. Bowden to serve my first Mass. 

'What took us to Bologna was that we went round by 
Loretto. We went there to get the Blessed Virgin's blessing 
on us. I have ever been under her shadow, if I may say it. 
My College was St. Mary's and my Church; and when I 
went to Littlemore, there, by my own previous disposition, 
our Blessed Lady was waiting for me. Nor did she do 
nothing for me in that low habitation, of which I always 
think with pleasure. 

'I trust I shall be here in quiet for some time, but it is 
impossible to say. 

'As to dear Manning, I must tell you, I thought him 
looking very ill. He (at Rome) ran up to me as I was getting 
into a carrozza and I must say fairly that for the first instant, 
I did not know him. And when I saw him again and again, 
his old face did not come out to me, nor did I get over, as one 
so often does, my first impression. 

'All blessing attend you and yours this festal time, 
although, dearest Henry, you prefer sitting in the Street to 
entering the bright Presence Chamber of the New-born 
Lord. 'Ever yours affectionately, 


'P.S. I am here by myself St. John does not come till 
next week.' 

I have found no mention in Newman's letters from Rome 
of the important political events which took place during his 
visit there and immediately after its conclusion except the 
brief reference, already quoted, to the fact that while the 
foreign papers were full of Roman politics he, living in Rome, 
heard nothing of them. But that he fully entered into all 
that was happening, and into the more stirring events 
which came after his departure, we know from his published 
writings. And he spoke in later years to Father Neville of 
his impressions at the time. 

Pius IX. had broken with Austria, and the Liberals 
urged him to work for Italian unity. He was hailed by 
Mazzini as the great reforming Pope of the nineteenth 
century and the future saviour of Italy. 'I am observing 
your steps with immense hope,' Mazzini wrote to him. 
VOL. i. H 


'Have confidence. Trust yourself to us, . . * we will found 
for you a government unique in Europe.' The programme 
urged by his Liberal adherents was that sketched by 
Gioberti five years earlier an Italian confederation under 
the presidency of the Pope. The popular enthusiasm was 
unbounded. Writing from Italy in 1847 Dean Church says: 
* Their enthusiasm for Pio Nono is quite mediaeval. They 
can talk of nothing else.' The Pope was hailed as the 
champion of Italian independence against Austria. But he 
fell between two stools. Hated by the Conservatives and 
pro-Austrian followers of his predecessor, his trust in the 
Liberals was too simple. And Newman so Father Neville 
has often told me saw this from the first. 

Pius IX. began his pontificate as a reformer. His first 
act was an amnestie generate. The prisons were opened and 
all the political prisoners were released. The 'scum of 
the earth' (this was Newman's phrase) were let loose in 
the Papal States. The members of the secret societies, 
haters of the Church and of Christianity, soon gained the 
upper hand in Rome, Pius IX. aspired to and won, for a 
time, the title of the most liberal Pope of modern days. 
'The most enlightened of modern sovereigns/ said our own 
Morning Post. The reaction of disillusion was correspond- 
ingly great, and he lives in history as the Pope of intransi- 
geance, whose response to all proposals of compromise with 
the later movement for Italian unity was 'Non possumus.' 
He angered the Conservative Cardinals by disbanding the old 
clerical ministry; and his lay prime minister, Count de Rossi, 
was assassinated by the Liberals in 1848. Monsignor Palma 
(Newman's intimate friend) was shot dead at the windows 
of the Quirinal. The Pope fled to Gaeta. The tricolour 
was hoisted from the Quirinal and a republic proclaimed in 
Rome. When the Powers intervened in the following year 
and restored the papal sovereignty, the old clerical govern- 
ment was reinstated, and Pius was henceforth the unbending 
foe of 'Liberalism 3 iti all the forms in which it manifested 
itself on the Continent. 

We trace in Newman's published writings the deep 
impression made on him by the crisis. A chapter of the 
'Historical Sketches' is devoted to the action of Pius IX. at 


this time. The Pontiff had consistently emphasised his 
dissent from the programme of the men who attempted 
to claim his approval. Although he had broken with 
Austria, he had refused to sanction the advance of the 
Papal army against the Austrian troops beyond their own 
frontier. He had refused to bless the tricolour flag brought 
him by the soldiers before their departure. In vain had 
the leader of the popular party pressed him to launch the 
censures of the Church against the Austrians. He had dis- 
owned the revolutionary measures promised in his name 
in 1848 by his minister, Mamiani. As he had declined 
at the outset to make any compromise for the sake of 
Austrian support, so now he dissociated himself from 
those bitter foes of the Austrians who claimed to be his 
allies. True to himself and his office, he set at naught the 
maxims of political prudence and retreated in apparent 
isolation. 'The Protestant public,' wrote Newman, ' jeered 
and mocked at him as one whose career was over; . . . yet 
he has supplied but a fresh instance of the heroic detachment 
of Popes and carried down the tradition of St. Peter into the 
age of railroads and newspapers.' l 

The Pontiff calmly proceeded with the duties of his 
office, the formation of Hierarchies in England and Holland, 
the impending definition of the Immaculate Conception. 
And, without effort on his own part, he soon found himself 
back again in Rome. In the very year of the Pope's return 
Newman described with dramatic force the nature of the 
struggle between the armed soldiers of Mazzini and the 
spiritual power represented by the Papacy a power whose 
peculiar strength lay in the intangible weapons by which it 
is enforced and defended: 

'Punctual in its movements, precise in its operations, 
imposing in its equipments, with its spirit high and its 
step firm, with its haughty clarion and its black artillery, 
behold the mighty world is gone forth to war with, what? 
With an unknown something, which it feels but cannot see; 
which flits around it, which flaps against its cheek, with the 
air, with the wind. It charges and it slashes, and it fires its 
volleys, and it bayonets, and it is mocked by a foe who 
1 See Historical Sketches, ill. pp. 142 sq. 



dwells in another sphere, and is far beyond the force of 
its analysis, or the capacities of its calculus. The air gives 
way, and it returns again; it exerts a gentle but constant 
pressure on every side; moreover, it is of vital necessity to 
the very power which is attacking it. Whom have you gone 
out against? A few old men, with red hats and stockings, 
or a hundred pale students, with eyes on the ground, and 
beads in their girdle; they are as stubble: destroy them; 
then there will be other old men, and other pale students, 
instead of them. But we will direct our rage against one; 
he flees; what is to be done with him? Cast him out upon 
the wide world; but nothing can go on without him. Then 
bring him back! But he will give us no guarantee for the 
future. Then leave him alone: his power is gone, he is at 
an end, or he will take a new course of himself; he will take 
part with the state or the people. Meanwhile, the multitude 
of interests in active operation all over the great Catholic 
body rise up, as it were, all round, and encircle the combat, 
and hide the fortune of the day from the eyes of the world; 
and unreal judgments are hazarded, and rash predictions, till 
the mist clears away, and then the old man is found in 
his own place, as before, saying Mass over the tomb of the 
Apostles/ l 

1 Difficulties of Anglicans, i. 156. 



THE second week in January saw the gradual assembling of 
the new community. Dr. Wiseman had now been transferred 
to London as acting Vicar Apostolic of the district. 1 But 
the new Oratory was placed by Papal Brief at Birmingham, 
close to his former residence at Oscott, and there it conse- 
quently remained. A letter to Henry Wilberforce gives some 
particulars as to the Brief of foundation. It also shows 
Newman filled with that deep sense of the supernatural 
agencies at work in the history of the Church which he had 
brought with him from Rome and from the Holy House at 

'Mary vale: January 19, 1848. 

'I suppose you think I might have told you more in 
my last letter by this your second. But I really have not 
much to tell. The Pope's Brief, which I bring with me, 
fixes me at Maryvale and Birmingham but, as my name 
alone is introduced into it, me only. I could not change 
without his interference. Dr. Wiseman's going to London 
is since the Brief was drawn up. The late Bishop 2 (of 
London) between ourselves was the only Bishop who did 
not cordially welcome me. He was a good, upright, careful 
man, but timid he was really kind to me personally, but he 
feared me. So I felt myself cut out of London. He died just 
after the Brief was finished. My being at Birmingham 
(which I like better myself) will not preclude my coming to 
London occasionally. 

'We were to have brought the Bulls (for establishing the 
Hierarchy), and waited for that purpose but there were 

1 Dr. Walsh had succeeded Dr. Griffiths, but his delicate health led him to 
appoint Dr. Wiseman as his delegate. 

2 Dr. Griffiths, the Vicar Apostolic of the London district. 


delays, and we saw that if we waited longer, we should miss 
either Loretto or a London Christmas. We arrived, as it 
was, only on Christmas Eve and had travelled seven nights 
out of eight. 

'I went to Loretto with a simple faith, believing what I 
still more believed when I saw it. I have no doubt now. 
If you ask me why I believe, it is because every one believes 
it at Rome; cautious as they are and sceptical about some 
other things I believe it then as I believe that there is a new 
planet called Neptune, or that chloroform destroys the sense 
of pain. / have no antecedent difficulty in the matter. He 
who floated the Ark on the surges of a world-wide sea, and 
inclosed in it all living things, who has hidden the terrestrial 
paradise, who said that faith might move mountains, who 
sustained thousands for forty years in a sterile wilderness,, 
who transported Elias and keeps him hidden till the end, 
could do this wonder also. And in matter of fact we see all 
other records of our Lord and His Saints gathered up in the 
heart of Christendom from the ends of the earth as Paganism 
encroached on it (i.e. his relics). St. Augustine leaves 
Hippo, the prophet Samuel and St. Stephen Jerusalem, the 
crib in which our Lord lay leaves Bethlehem with St. Jerome, 
the Cross is dug up, St. Athanasius goes to Venice, there is^a 
general /xera/Wi/<t>^ev wrevQev. In short I feel no difficulty in 
believing it, though it may be often difficult to realize l . . . 

'Ever yours affectionately, 


In January there were gathered together at Maryvale 
Fathers St. John, Dalgairns, Penny, Stanton, and Coffin. 
These, together with Father Knox (a novice) and three lay 
brothers, formed the original community of Oratorians. 
Philip and Joseph Gordon joined them as novices 2 in the 
following month. 

Besides the actual novices, the Oratory proposed to take 
and educate a few boys with a view to their ultimately 
joining the community. 

'You should let me take Lisle/ Newman wrote to George 
Ryder, 'and make a little Oratorian of him, i.e. to wear the 

1 It must be remembered that in! 1847 recent criticism as to the history of the 
Holy House was unknown, and the tradition was far more widely received 
among Catholics than it is at present. 

2 Afterwards Father Philip Gordon, Superior of the London Oratory, and 
Father Joseph Gordon of the Birmingham Oratory, who died in 1853. 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 199 

dress and serve at functions, and be educated. Then when 
he grew up, he could exercise the dear right of Private Judg- 
ment, throw off the habit and set up for a flash character 
for we have no vows. 1 

The Oratory was formally inaugurated on February 2, 
the Feast of the Purification. Newman chose that day 
which was also the foundation day at Oriel in order that 
his new Oratory might be 'under the shadow of Maria 
Purificans.' Some of the Fathers took as their customary 
designation the name of some saint: thus Coffin became 
Father Robert, Dalgairns Father Bernard. Others, as 
St. John, Knox, and Newman himself, retained their own 
Christian names. 

Thus 'under the protection of Our Lady and St. Philip' 
his first work as a Catholic was begun, in the double spirit 
of faith and absolute resignation which was so marked in 
him. He was ready for failure in the world's eye, for possible 
failure also to accomplish much which he himself pictured 
as the aim to be striven for. God would bless as His own 
all work done for Him, and therefore real failure was im- 
possible. But He would bless it in His own way and 
not necessarily in the way imagined by His instruments. 
Newman never forgot that the world's neglect was the 
recompense for which St. Philip himself used to pray. 
' Neglect,' he said in an early sermon, 'was the badge which 
St. Philip desired for himself and for his own, "to despise 
the whole world, to despise no member of it, to despise 
oneself, to despise being despised." ' His grateful acqui- 
escence in Birmingham rather than London as the scene of 
their labours was conceived in this same spirit. 

The story which has now to be told is, for years, that 
of strenuous labour, as Newman followed unswervingly the 

1 Lisle Ryder came in the summer, and Newman writes to Ms father a few 
days after his arrival : 

'Tell Mama that Lisle knows I am writing, but has nothing just now to say. 
Nor have I anything to tell about him, except that he had a dirty face the day 
before yesterday, and threw a handful of flour over Br. Aloysius's black cassock 
this morning.' 

Lisle's brother Henry, afterwards an Oratorian, joined him a little later. 
But the plan of educating boys was soon abandoned, being, however, revived on 
far larger scale when the Oratory School was founded in 1859. 


* kindly light/ still, and in some ways more than even in his 
earlier life, 'amid the encircling gloom.' The prayer for 
neglect seemed at moments to be very literally answered; and 
the answer was hard to bear. Many chapters in the story 
tell of misunderstanding on the part of those whom he strove 
to serve, of the temporary prevalence in England within the 
Church of tendencies which he deplored, of the troubles 
which inevitably attend on one with the poet's or literary 
artist's temperament who is called on to initiate a great prac- 
tical work and this late in life. Such trials at moments, to 
use his own words, 'tore off' his 'morbidly sensitive skin/ To 
one with his temperament mental trial and apparent inci- 
dental failure appeared to cause a kind of physical pain even 
amid the most patient endurance. And as we read in the 
following pages the record of what he suffered we may be 
tempted to think that such sufferings represented the whole 
of his life in these years. But those who knew him best all 
bear the same testimony as he himself bore when directly 
questioned on the subject that his trials never even in the 
most joyless hours diminished the underlying peace and 
happiness, the rest of soul, which the Catholic Church had 
brought him, and which he had never known before. His 
life as a Catholic recalls the device inscribed at the beginning 
of a Benedictine prayer-book the word 'Pax' encircled with 
a crown of thorns. So, too, for the souls in purgatory peace 
is held to remain amid the acutest sufferings, because they 
know that their union with God is at last secure and their 
very suffering unites them to Him. Precisely twenty years 
after the opening of the Oratory, when purifying trial had 
done its very worst or very best, he wrote some words which 
must never be forgotten while the following pages are 
read. One who was still an Anglican had in January 1868 
expressed a doubt whether Newman did not regret having 
parted from his old friends in the Church of England, 
whether he had found in the Catholic Church after all 
what he looked for, or what compensated for all he had 
lost. To this question, conveyed to Newman through an 
intimate friend (the late Lord Blachford), he thus replied 
in a letter: 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 201 

'My own deep wound was before I left them, and in 
leaving them; and it was healed, when the deed was done, as 
far as it was personal, and not from the reflection of their 
sorrow. To-day is the 2oth anniversary of my setting up 
the Oratory in England, and every year I have more to 
thank God for, and more cause to rejoice that He helped 
me over so great a crisis Since A.B. obliges me to say it, 
this I cannot omit to say: I have found in the Catholic 
Church abundance of courtesy, but very little sympathy, 
among persons in high place, except a few but there is a 
depth and a power in the Catholic religion, a fulness of satis- 
faction in its creed, its theology, its rites, its sacraments, its 
discipline, a freedom yet a support also, before which the 
neglect or the misapprehension about oneself on the part of 
individual living persons, however exalted, is as so much 
dust, when weighed in the balance. This is the true secret of 
the Church's strength, the principle of its indefectibility, and 
the bond of its indissoluble unity. It is the earnest and the 
beginning of the repose of heaven.' 

The new congregation was in full working order before 
February was over. 

'We are very busy, as you may think/ Newman writes 
on March 9 'I as Superior, as Novice Master, as Lecturer 
in theology, have enough to do besides chance matters and 
going to Birmingham. We have, I believe, 18 priests in fact 
or potentialiter.' 

Indeed the number of coming recruits seemed to be very 
large, and the possibility was soon discussed of branch houses 
at Bayswater, in Reading, and elsewhere. From the very 
beginning of Newman's labours for the Oratory on his return 
to England we observe a certain note of despondency amid 
untiring work. He complains in many letters of loss of vigour. 
He was forty-seven years old a time of life when even very 
hard work in a groove already formed is easy, but the worry of 
initiation is irksome. ' 'Tis a strange time,' he writes to one 
friend in March, 'all things are being new cast.' 'It is an 
awful thing/ he writes to another (Henry Wilberforce), 'begin- 
ning so new a life in the end of my days. How I wish I had 
in me the energy which I had when I began the Tracts for 
the Times! Now I am scarce more, to my own feelings, 


than an inutile lignum; so stiff, so wooden. May you never 
have, dear Henry, the bitter reflection that you have left 
yourself but the dregs of life for God's service!' 

Then, again, many of his new companions were less 
congenial than those of Oxford days. Frederick Faber had 
founded a community of enthusiastic converts, whom he named 
the Wilfridians, at St. Wilfrid's, Cotton Hall, Cheadle. They 
petitioned to be allowed to join the Oratory at Maryvale, 
and Newman consented. They were admitted in February. 
Devoted to Newman though these young men were, there 
was from the first a difference of temperament between him 
and the newcomers which only increased as time went on. 
Moreover, the constant pressure of the complicated and 
difficult work of practical organisation told upon Newman's 
spirits, and the rigorous fasting of many years upon his health 
and strength. He seems to have had at moments the feeling 
that his influence was gone and his power of doing good at 
an end. 

One who knew him most intimately has said of him that 
he ever had an almost physical inability to open out spon- 
taneously in conversation when there had been misunderstand- 
ing. If others took the first step he would often respond 
gratefully. But only a few knew him well enough to approach 
him with success. Thus a wholly mistaken impression might 
long prevail and colour his view of the relations between 
himself and others. Possibly enough, some such misconcep- 
tion entered into the feeling which he expressed that sum- 
mer in writing to Ambrose St. John, who had left him for a 
few days on family business, that the young men from 
St. Wilfrid's (the giovani as he called them) were stiff and 
restrained in their intercourse with him. The letter is 
characteristic even in its minute and in themselves trivial 
details as to his health: 

c Mary vale: July 12, 1848. 

'Carissime, Don't come back till Tuesday. 

'My head is so stupid to-day, that I take up my pen, as 
the only thing I can do, even if that. I have a little cold, 
but, independent of that, my head has been worse since you 
left. ... It makes me languid and drowsy, and then I can't 
do my duties, and people think me reserved &c., when I don't 
mean to be. 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 203 

'At times the sense of weight (of responsibility) and of 
desolateness has come on me so strongly, that I could fancy 
it might grow equal to any pain; and I thought what the 
Pope must suffer. It is useless to tell you on paper all the 
little trials which constitute all this and it is ungrateful in me 
not to be more cheered with the improvement of things in 
some quarters. My great trouble is some of the giovani not 
that anything new has occurred, but they have so repelled 
anything between us but what is external, shown so little 
kindness when I have done things for them, treated me with 
so little confidence, as to throw me back upon myself and 
now I quite dread the fortnightly chapter day, when I have 
to make them a little address, as being something so very 
external, when I have no means to know what is going on 
in their minds. In consequence I feel as if I was not doing 
my duty to them, yet without ^ny fault. I don't know what 
influence I am exerting over them. It is as if my time of 
work were gone by. Except that one has been led step 
by step to where one is, beginning in 1841 with going to 
Littlemore, one is tempted to say: "How much happier for 
me to have no liabilities (so to speak) but to be a single 
unfettered convert 37 ; but if this had been so, I should not 
have known you, Carissime so good and evil go together. 

'The above I wrote before dinner, and suddenly during 
dinner my deafness &c. went away completely on my taking 
some cayenne pepper, which I had speculated upon using for 
some hours before, and for the time I am better than I have 
been for a fortnight past how odd it is whether nervous, 
or what? 

f l grieve for your troubles at home, though I have been 
talking only of my own. Don't take them to heart. 

'Love from all. 

e Ever yours affectionately, 


A curious instance of Newman's difficulty in bridging 
the apparent separation between himself and younger 
members of the community, when there was in reality 
nothing but affectionate feeling on both sides, was related to 
me by Father Philip Gordon. He told me that after some 
weeks, during which he and Newman met daily without 
a word, when he was wondering as to the cause of what 
appeared to be a real breach between them, the Father 
Superior one morning put into his hands the following note: 


'My dearest Brother, It is strange to write to you and 
write about nothing; but such is my fate just now and for 
some time, that, since I have nothing to say to you, I must 
either be silent or unseasonable. 

'Many is the time I have stood over the fire at breakfast 
and looked at you at Recreation, hunting for something to 
talk about. The song says that "love cannot live on flowers"'- 
not so, yet it requires material, if not for sustenance, at least 
for display and I have fancied too that younger and lighter 
minds perhaps could not, if they would, care much for one 
who has had so much to wear him down. 

'All blessings come 011 you my dear Brother in propor- 
tion to my waning. < Ever yours affectionately, 


Newman at first made a great effort to throw himself com- 
pletely into the ideas of his new followers from St. Wilfrid's 
who were disposed to adopt Continental forms of popular 
devotion almost indiscriminately. He also used in these early 
years the vehement language, common among the younger 
converts, in respect of the Anglican Church. He wrote of its 
services as f a ritual dashed upon the ground, trodden on and 
broken piecemeal; prayers clipped, pieced, shuffled about at 
pleasure until the meaning of the composition perished . . . 
vestments chucked off, lights quenched, jewels stolen, the 
pomp and circumstance of worship annihilated; a dreariness 
which, could be felt and which seemed the token of an unin- 
spired Socinianism pouring itself upon the eye, the ear, the 
nostril of the worshipper/ l As years went on such language 
became less congenial to him. As to popular devotions he 
came definitely to hold the view which had all along 
commended itself to the solid commonsense of men like 
Dr. Newsham of Ushaw and Dr. Ullathorne, who advocated 
no wide departure from such forms of piety as had long been 
in use among English Catholics, 2 The earlier impulse came, 

1 Historical and Critical Essays, II. pp. 443-4. 

2 Cf. Letter to Dr. Pusey, pp. 21-22. At the same time there were Italian 
prayer-books like the Raccolta, to which he was always devoted. Indeed, his 
own personal taste in devotion was always far more in sympathy with the Con- 
tinental forms than was that of the old Catholics. What he deprecated was 
untheological exaggerations. Concerning his love of the Roman architecture 
we have already spoken. And the Birmingham Oratory adopted the Roman 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 205 

as he says in his letter to Dr. Pusey, from younger men whom 
he 'loved and trusted 3 ; but he adds, 'my mind in no long 
time fell back to what seems to me a safer and more 
practical course.' The struggle in his mind, however, and 
the ultimate modification in his opinions added to his trial, 
and in the time of transition he failed wholly to please 
either party. The 'old Catholics' of England, along with 
certain - deficiencies arising from their long exclusion from 
our great educational centres, had plenty of character, 
and together with it plenty of honest English prejudice. 
There were novelties in devotion introduced from Con- 
tinental sources by the converts which were not to their 
taste. Faber and his friends, besides adopting the Roman 
vestments and classical architecture, which were not to the 
liking of the generation- of English Catholics whose taste had 
been formed by Pugin, affected also the exuberant and some- 
times untheological language to be found in some French and 
Italian books of devotion. These things were innovations. 
The 'old Catholics' (as they were called) were no doubt 
somewhat jealous of the influence of clever converts from 
Oxford who aspired apparently to teach the whole Catholic 
community in England. Newman's younger followers were 
far less disposed to be considerate towards the 'old Catholics' 
than was Newman himself. They went their own way. And 
the c old Catholics' came to regard them as a party which 
held aloof from the general body. Newman, who felt that, 
even with all possible encouragement, his task in founding the 
Oratory was hard enough, was keenly sensitive to the smallest 
sign of such absence of sympathy. Dr. Wiseman now asked 
the Oratorians to preach Lenten sermons in the London 
churches. Newman expected crowded congregations. The 
enthusiasm with which he had been received everywhere in 
1846 was still fresh- in his mind. But a certain reaction 
seemed already to have set in, and the churches were nearly 
empty. Newman preached at St. George's on April 9, at 
Chelsea on the loth, at Spanish Place on the nth, and again 
at St. George's on the isth. Other sermons followed. The 
congregations grew no larger. It was a fortnight of com- 
plete failure. To the younger fathers Faber, Hutchison, 
Dalgairns, Coffin who also preached, the failure was of 


little account. Newman felt it deeply. 'To please Dr. Wise- 
man/ he writes in his Journal, looking back at the time 
fifteen years later, ' I made the wretched throw off in London, 
against my will, of the Oratorian Lent preaching at Passion- 
tide a blunder and a failure which even now I cannot think 
of without a raw sensitiveness.' 

Then Father Wilfrid Faber as Frederick Faber was now 
called full of vigour and initiative, acting on Newman's wish 
to make English Catholics familiar with the biographies of 
modern Saints, started some translations of Italian Saints' lives. 

The following memorandum gives the views with which 
Newman sanctioned the inauguration of the series 1 : 

'The Saints are the glad and complete specimens of the 
new creation which our Lord brought into the moral world, 
and as "the heavens declare the glory of God" as Creator, so 
are the Saints proper and true evidence of the God of Chris- 
tianity, and tell out into all lands the power and grace of 
Him who made them. What the existence of the Church 
itself is to the learned and philosophical, such are the 
Saints to the multitude. They are the popular evidence of 
Christianity, and the most complete and logical evidence 
while the most popular. It requires time, learning, the 

1 The following is another memorandum on the same subject: 

'The objects I had in view in starting the Modern Saints, beyond gratitude 
to the Regina Sanctorum who used the Saints' Lives for my conversion, were 

i. That we were in evil plight in England for want of the supernatural 
the etkos of Catholics seemed utterly protestant, and their religion different from 
what had converted us. 

'2. That there was an unusual amount of vocation and call to perfection 
among Catholics, and that converts would seem almost so called by their con- 
version, and life out of the Church, and that the Lives would co-operate with 
God in this. 

'3. That there were numbers outside the Church with whom controversy 
was passed and over, and who would be reached by this. 

c 4. That low views of grace among Catholics, and wrong views of it in others 
would be corrected thus. 

' 5. That it would help to destroy antiquarianism and introduce modernism 
and foreignism. 

( 6. That, as a matter of fact, colleges, schools, and religious houses were 
greatly in want of some such work. 

' 7. That it would promote devotion to the Madonna, images, relics, etc. 

1 8. That it would help to make confessors into directors. 

1 9. That it would destroy much narrowness arising from actual ignorance of 
Catholic matters men seeing heresy etc. everywhere.' 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 207 

powers of attention and logical consecutiveness and compre- 
hensiveness, to survey the Church of all ages and places as 
one, and to recognise it, (as to the intellect, it is, and must be 
distinctly recognised,) as the work of God alone; to most 
of us it is the separate, and in one sense incomplete, portions 
of this great phenomenon which turn one's mind to Catholi- 
cism, or whole work of God, a perfect work from be- 
ginning to end, yet one which may be bound between two 
boards, and mastered by the most unlearned. The exhibition 
of -a person, his thoughts, his words, his acts, his trials, his 
features, his beginnings, his growth, his end, have a charm 
to every one; and where he is a Saint they have a divine 
influence and persuasion, a power of exercising and eliciting 
the latent elements of divine grace in individual readers, as 
no other reading can have. We consider that the Lives of 
the Saints are one of the main and special instruments, to 
which, under God, we may look for the conversion of our 
countrymen at this time.' 

Some features in these ' Lives,' with which readers of 
Italian hagiography are familiar, scandalised many English 
readers. Mr. Price, a priest of the old school, published in 
Dolman's Magazine a strong attack on the life of St. Rose of 
Lima. The attack was violent and indefensible. Mr. Price 
accused the writer and translator of sanctioning idolatry, on 
the ground that St. Rose was represented as asking favours 
from the image of a saint. But while Mr. Price was 
generally admitted to have gone too far, few if any of the 
hereditary Catholics considered the series entirely satisfac- 
tory; and even Dr. Newsham of Ushaw, Newman's staunch 
friend, held that they needed modification to suit the taste 
of English readers. The abundance of imperfectly proved 
miracles was objected to, and some of the stories of scandals 
within the Church were considered unsuitable for Protestant 
England. Dr. Ullathorne, who on April 30 was installed 
as Vicar Apostolic of the Central district (and consequently 
Newman's Bishop), held the objection to them to be wide- 
spread. On learning that the 'Lives' chosen and edited 
by Father Faber were in some quarters disapproved, New- 
man wrote to Bishop Wiseman in October, proposing, if 
the Bishops thought well, to edit the series himself, in the 
name of the whole Congregation. 


Newman had an interview with Dr. Ullathorne, and 
chronicled the result in a letter to one of his brother 
Oratorians. The letter shows a touch of combativeness and 
party spirit unlike Newman's earlier or later manner a sign 
perhaps of the strain caused by his efforts to fall in with the 
tone of mind of some of the younger fathers: 

c Mary vale: Oct. 22/48. 

'Well then, the Bishop has stopped the Lives of the Saints. 
Without my asking him for what I put before him was, that 
we could not go on, without the Bishop's support. He has not 
simply declined his support, but in every variety of form, 
categorically and circumstantially, advised their stopping. 

( I saw him yesterday. He was very kind and easy in his 
manner. He said he had asked a number of persons first 
Dr. Browne of Wales, who was for stopping them. He had 
asked a number of priests he had been to nunneries, and 
found them disliked. The first great fault was dryness. 
What he wanted extremely was original lives like that most 
beautiful of St. Stephen Harding, and others which we 
published at Oxford. Next, that the feeling of Catholics 
about them might be summed up in these two objections 
first that the miracles need not be believed (and were 
difficult) secondly that they would prejudice protestants 
that the nuns of St. Benedict's Priory (I think), a very well 
regulated spiritual body, feared they would harm Protestants 
that he had heard some Catholics or Protestants (I forget 
which) at Wolverhampton scrupled at receiving the account 
of St. Winifred carrying her head that Bacci was dry that 
he believed that Dr. Waring, from the "English" character 
of his mind, would be of the same view. I did not give any 
opinion of my own, because I was not asked; he said lie 
would write to one or two other Bishops, and then let me 
know. . . . 

'He went on to ask if F. Faber was not opposed to Gothic 
architecture, screens, etc. I said that we all disliked exclusive- 
ness but nothing more that I thought Gothic was extremely 
superior to Grecian as a matter of art, but that we wished to 
keep the Rubrics. He said here or elsewhere, that we must 
do something to soothe the "jealousy 1 ' of the clergy. I did 
not reply but this strikes me as impertinent why are they 
jealous? What have we done? since the day we were 
Catholics they have been bursting with " jealousy" and we 
are on every occasion to give way to this indefinite terror. 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 209 

'The only remark which I have to make is that it is shame- 
ful to recommend us to stop the Lives, before they have made 
Price eat his words publicly. But it is our destiny, and 
blessedness, thus to be treated ever. I thought of trying to 
set him against Price, but I somehow think that our Lady 
and St. Philip will take our part, if we do not take our own 
and even humanly speaking we shall be sure to have 
defenders, if we do not defend ourselves. 

'But this is almost clear, that we must send some one to 
Rome at least I don't see how we can escape it. I know I 
have at present the Pope's ear; and I think he might be 
made to see that a so-called Englishman may speciously 
conceal under screens and roods a great deal of doctrinal 
error. We ought to (and might) get full leave in our rescript 
to keep up the Italian traditions of the Oratory.' 

That Dr. Ullathorne's views were not quite what might 
be inferred from this account of Newman's the following letter 
from the Bishop himself shows. His standpoint seems to differ 
but little from that of Dr. Newsham that portions of the 
Lives were unsuitable to the general public. 

'We must guard/ he writes to Newman on Novem- 
ber 3, ' against mistaking each other. We are each looking 
from a separate point of view, I suspect. My letter requires 
the limitations implied in my previous conversations; and 
what I have said from myself must be distinguished from 
what I have cited from others. The principal enjoyment of 
my own life has been the lives of the Saints and their 
mystic writings. Very rare, alas! now, are such enjoyments. 
I had even planned with a Dominican Father the publication 
of a series of such works, when the mitre placed against 
my own inclinations upon my head, extinguished the plan. 
Hard and toilsome and full of pains are the unseen labours 
of a Bishop in a country like this. 

'Heroic spirits are the small minority. Such spirits have 
been drawn towards you, and have gathered around you. 
Heroic grace is gained by the " small number.' 3 Give strong 
meats with wisdom and soberness. It was what St. Paul 
did with the new Christians of his time. He knew them 
well and did not give the same food to all. 

'The late Fr. Gentili, a bosom friend of mine, and as you 
know a saintly man, began in England with a lofty ideal, which, 
happily, never diminished in his own ardent spirit; and for 
many years he concealed uot his opinions on the English 


clergy and their "low" views. He became intimately 
conversant with their missionary struggles and with the nature 
of the people; old Catholics, and converts, and catechu- 
mens, with whom they have to deal. A few months before 
his death I had, to my great happiness, many and long con- 
versations with him, prolonged day by day for six weeks. 
His view of the facts of our position and of the nature of 
our contest had become wonderfully changed in the course 
of his missions. ... It was his wide experimental know- 
ledge of the whole body of society in England which is 
brought in contact with Catholic teaching which changed 
his views. He had become much more moderate in his mode 
of instruction, though he lamented its necessity. He saw that 
many things in the clergy which he had formerly attributed 
to sluggishness were to be ascribed to prudence. This fact 
must be taken with its right limitations. He lamented the 
hasty conclusions which new converts (this does not, believe 
me, include you or those who are with you,) and some indis- 
creet young Catholics of old stocks, had reported in Rome, 
and also the mischief which had been created from which 
we all had for a time to suffer. ... He longed himself to 
go to Rome to give in person this corrected view of things, as 
his more intimate experience had found the case to be. 

'What I say then, is: 

'ist You are free in right to publish whatever is not 
against faith and morals. 

'2nd. You are right in zeal and charity in publishing 
many lives of Saints and holy books. 

^rd. Prudence, without which, as the fathers of the desert 
say, no virtue is a virtue, she being the ruler of all virtues as 
a Queen, requires that what to you and me is full of edifica- 
tion and instruction should not be put forth in such a form 
that what to you and me is apprehended rightly may be 
changed into error in the ill-prepared minds of the multitude. 
The mass will generalize particular facts with regard to the 
clergy for example, where they know not by experience the 
general spirit of the clergy. . . . They only can safely for them- 
selves know the weaknesses which Satan sows in the Church, 
who know the force of her graces. The feeble in faith and 
the faithless will fasten upon the first as a ground for with- 
holding consent to the second. The bane and antidote are 
before them, but will they not in taking both make the bane 
destroy the antidote. An English Catholic does not refuse 
to own what is in his church, but belongs not to it; but he 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 211 

declines coming forward to tell it, as he would decline to 
tell the vices of his next neighbour where he knows that it 
will scandalize. 

'But to return for a moment to the general subject. I 
would say let the majority of readers, the mass of the weak, 
the ignorant and the grossly prejudiced be kept in view. I 
would advise the lives to be re-written, and then we shall 
have a language always clear and unmistakeable as to the 
substance of doctrine implied in the narrative. So wrote the 
Fathers when they wrote in the midst of heresy. The less 
authenticated miracles, those which a writer introduces 
when he wishes to make a work as full as possible, should 
be pruned down. Not the most wondrous but the least 
authenticated. A writer writing for England would naturally 
throw in those reflections which would prepare the mind of 
the reader and put him in the proper point of view. How 
well this was done in the Oxford lives, and how popular they 
were for that reason, amongst others, even amongst Catholics/ 

The Bishop did undertake to show publicly that he dis- 
approved of Mr. Price's strong language. He wrote a public 
rebuke of Mr. Price. But as some weeks passed before its 
appearance and the Oratorians (who had seen it) did not 
think its language sufficiently emphatic, a circular giving 
notice of the suspension of the publication of the series was 
forthwith issued by Fr. Faber, who printed as his warrant for 
so doing the following letter from Newman: 

'"Mary vale: Oct. soth, 1848. 

' "My dear Father Wilfrid, I have consulted the Fathers 
who are here on the subject of the Lives of the Saints, and 
we have come to the unanimous conclusion of advising you 
to suspend the series at present. It appears there is a strong 
feeling against it on the part of a portion of the Catholic 
Community in England, on the ground, as we are given to 
understand, that the lives of foreign saints, however edifying 
in their respective countries, are un suited to England, and 
unacceptable to Protestants. To this feeling we consider it 
a duty, for the sake of peace, to defer. For myself, you 
know well, without my saying it, how absolutely I identify 
myself with you in this matter; but, as you may have to 
publish this letter, I make it an opportunity, which has not 
as yet been given me, of declaring that I have no sympathy 
at all with the feeling to which I have alluded, and, in 



particular, that no one can assail your name without striking 
at mine, < ver vour affectionate friend and brother., 

in our Lady and St. Philip, 

Congr. Orat Presb."' 

Newman's letter caused considerable offence among the 
hereditary Catholics, and gave pain to Dr. Ullathorne himself. 

The Bishop had distinctly promised to express his dis- 
approval of Mr. Price's article though not so strongly as 
Newman had desired and therefore seems to have felt that 
the Oratorians on their side ought to act towards him in a 
more friendly spirit. He thought them too sensitive and 
plainly said so in the following letter: 

C I have often in my secret heart regretted that the course 
of events has tended to isolate the fathers of the Oratory 
from the body of old Catholics in this country. I am not 
solitary in that feeling, which is a most kind one. You know 
how difficult it is for those who are not intimately acquainted 
with each other in all the turns of their sentiments, not to 
mistake each other at times, when working together in one 
cause. How easily we misjudge each other and how soon we 
become critical. For instance, old Catholics, familiar with all 
our habits, will consider that I have strongly censured the 
article in Dolman's and marked the author for life. To have 
gone much further, would, in my position, have looked more 
like passion than judgment. The words added, "that I had 
not concealed my opinion whenever the subject was brought 
up before me/ 3 show that my censure had been habitual until 
it came, when occasion offered, to a public expression. 

' Before my letter appeared in the Tablet, a painful 
feeling had arisen. For under the impression that the 
"Lives" had been stopped by authority, the circular was 
thought to betray sensitiveness and ' pugnacity. ' ' The former 
impression is now removed, but still the sensitiveness of the 
circular, regarding as it does the lives of the meek and humble 
servants of God, has widely left a painful impression. . . . 

f My dear Mr. Newman, I can with difficulty refrain from 
tears whilst I write. I love you so much, and yet I feel so 
anxious for the spirit recently, I think, indicated. 

' Believe me 3 that a little of human nature is to be found 
fermenting in this sensitiveness. I write with pain, for it 
is difficult for us to see . . . any of the more delicate shades 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 213 

of pride, and more especially of intellectual pride, until it is 
beginning to move from us by the impulse of an act of 
humility. Forgive my freedom. Hitherto from delicacy and 
respect I have withheld from pointing out to your charity a 
source from which some part of this uneasiness has sprung, 
whatever external occasion may have given it opportunity. 
See what a faith I have in your humility. An invocation of 
the Holy Ghost, two or three chapters of the following of 
Christ, an examen, and a few acts in presence of Almighty 
God give peace to our disturbed hearts, and the humbleness 
of right judgment to our minds. Let us pray for one another 
that we may bear ourselves in all the meekness of Christ and 
of his saints.' 

This letter Newman forwarded to Dr. Wiseman. It 
helped to an understanding. And Mr. Price, who was not at 
all the villain of the piece he had been considered, wrote a 
generous letter of apology in which he begged Father Faber 
to continue the series. 


'St. Wilfrid's, Cheadie: Dec. 3, 1848. 

'I hope the late unpleasant business is now ended. We 
have received a most generous letter from Mr. Price, and I 
wrote to-day to ask him down here, if his duties will allow 
him time, and he will favour us by coming. 

'Mx. Capes says that you thought that a Dr. Ullathorne 
had no call to lecture me," but My dear Lord, not only he, as 
a Bishop, but any one may lecture me, and I should be obliged 
for it. What I had to remark in Dr. Ullathorne was that he 
spoke about me without knowing me. It stands to reason 
that no one can know a person of my age in a moment 
and the Bishop has had no experience whatever of persons in 
my circumstances and he spoke of me on a theory. I sent 
you the letter to see, that you might know how we stood. 

'I foresaw, before suspending the Series, that I should 
not succeed without bringing a corresponding quantity of 
criticism on myself. But I will willingly bear the imputation, 
if I have done a good work. If we started again, we should 
like very much the names of the Bishops in general. I do 
not like subjecting your Lordship to such attacks as have 
been made from those who place themselves under the counte- 
nance, as it were, of other Bishops. From Dr. Ullathorne's 
published letter, I trust he will now give his name.' 


Early In the following year, however, the extreme 
reticence of the English Bishops whom he consulted on 
the subject led Newman to the conclusion that they 
considered the series likely still to proceed on lines which 
were unwise, even if not actually censurable; and it was 
discontinued. The whole episode tried him extremely the 
more so probably because the opinion to which he was 
gradually coming coincided on the whole with that of the 
Bishops and Dr. Newsham. That opinion is expressed 
at length in a well-known passage, written in 1865, in his 
published letter to Dr. Pusey on occasion of the Eirenicon. 1 

On October 31, 1848, Newman left Maryvale for good 
for St. Wilfrid's, Cheadle. Stantpn came with him, and they 
were followed a few days later by St. John, Bowles, and 
Dalgairns. The sk novices at this time were Joseph and 
Philip Gordon, Francis Knox (afterwards known as the 
learned editor of the Douai diaries), Stanislas Flanagan (in 
later years a famous character as Rector of Adare in County 
Limerick), Nicholas Darnell, and Albaft Wells. Schemes for 
a branch Oratory had been discussed and dropped. While 
plans were changing and maturing, 'good-natured friends' 
told Newman of the criticisms passed on the Oratory by the 
old Catholics. Newman laughed at the intelligence, but he 
had not the ideal thickness of skin which would have made 

1 C I prefer English habits of belief and devotion to foreign from the same 
causes, and by the same right, which justifies foreigners in preferring their 
own. In following those of my people, I show less singularity, and create less 
disturbance than if I made a flourish with what is novel and exotic. And in this 
line of conduct I am but availing myself of the teaching which I fell in with on 
becoming a Catholic; and it is a pleasure to me to think that what I hold now, 
and would transmit after me if I could, is only what I received then. The 
utmost delicacy was observed on all hands in giving me advice: only one warning 
remains on my mind, and it came from Dr. Griffiths, the late Vicar Apostolic of 
the London district. He warned me against books of devotion of the Italian 
school which were just at that time coming into England. . . . 

' When I went to Rome, though it may seem strange to you to say it, even 
here I learned nothing inconsistent with this judgment. . . . 

'When I returned to England the first expression of theological opinion 
which came in my way, was apropos of the series of translated Saints' lives 
which the late Dr. Faber originated. That expression proceeded from a wise 
prelate, who was properly anxious as to the line which might be taken by the 
Oxford converts then for the first time coming into work. According, as I 
recollect his opinion, he was apprehensive of the effect of Italian compositions, 
as unsuited to this country, and suggested that the Lives should be original 
works, drawn up by ourselves and our friends from Italian sources' (p. 20). 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 215 

him itidifferent to it. He refers to the various rumours In a 
letter of November 19 to Frederick Capes: 

'From your letter I am amused to see that it is the feeling 
of all Catholics old and new, that the Oratory is hitherto a 
failure. But, my good fellow, you do not know what it is to 
bring a religious body into form. If a body with vows is 
difficult to manage, what is one without vows? We have 
between 30 and 40 as good and dear companions as we could 
wish in imagination, but the higher, the more gifted, the more 
spiritual are minds, the more difficult to shape in one course. 
No two Saints take quite the same line could a body of 
saints exist? each with his particular inspiration? and though 
we are not Saints, and have no particular inspirations, but 
the ordinary rule to obey } yet you may fancy that these 
aspirations, which would keep Saints from a humdrum way, 
are somewhat difficult to regulate. Then again, we have to 
learn each other. And we have to learn the genius of the 
congregation, and to make it work. When I came back to 
England, I said "Oh for a year of quiet" I despaired of it 
and hoping to throw out a tub to the whale, I proposed the 
Lent sermons in London, thinking that if we seemed to do 
something, we should be let alone. They did not answer 
their object however, a year's quiet we have had, and we 
could not have done without it. We could not have been a 
body without it. It is with difficulty we begin work even 
now but we hope to manage it. Meanwhile it is amusing, 
while we have been hugging ourselves on the real work we 
have done, on the gigantic internal difficulties we have sur- 
mounted (I fear to boast, but certainly we have been much 
blessed) you and gentlemen at a distance looking on, and 
seeing we were not insane enough to waste our strength in 
flashes in the pan, have said, "It is a failure, the Father 
Superior is at his old game sitting still giving up things, 
cherishing ideals about Bishops, while souls lie by thousands, 
perishing in our great towns; nibbling at Bayswater and 
Reading, promising to go into the Adelphi shilly-shallying 
about Derretend (Deritend) in Birmingham, complaining of 
the want of funds, when he, like some others, should throw 
himself on a poor population for support, and fight (as you 
say) with brazen weapons." Well, as to work, we have done 
something I should not wonder if, in Birmingham, Mary- 
vale, and here, we shall have received into the Church a 
hundred, converts in the course of the year; I suppose we 


have preached 8 to 10 sermons every Sunday, and have had 
a fair number of penitents nothing indeed to what an 
Oratory should do, but something when it was not our direct 
work. And as to our apparent shilly-shallyings, we have only, 
during one year of quiet, been beating about for the best 
field of labour, and actually have settled on one before the 
end of it. 

'But the truth is these old priests will be satisfied with 
nothing they have pursued us with criticisms ever since we 
were Catholics. Why do you keep together? Why don't 
you go to Rome? Why do you go to Rome? why do you 
rush into the Confessional before you are examined in all 
dogmatics and all morals? Why do you sit idle? What a 
short noviciate you have had! When did you read morals? 
None of these questions are fictitious, and they are but 
samples of a hundred. No, we must go our own way; we 
must look to the Fount of grace for blessing and for 
guidance and we must care nothing (and we don't certainly 
care over much) for the tongues about us.' 

The sojourn at St. Wilfrid's was temporary, pending the 
arrangement of the new Oratory in Alcester Street, Birming- 
ham, of which some of the fathers took possession in January 
1849. The Oratory Chapel was opened on February 2, 
Ambrose St. John saying the Mass and Newman preaching. 
Newman's diary records a visit on the 5th from Dr. Moriarty, 
afterwards Bishop of Kerry and his intimate friend. In the 
same month special sermons for children were inaugurated, 
and Newman and Dalgairns began a course of lectures. 

There is no doubt that Newman's differences of view and 
temperament from the young men from St. Wilfrid's,' which 
gradually became unmistakable, contributed to suggest the 
idea of a separate Oratorian house in London in which the 
energies of Father Faber especially should have their scope, 
and which should be recruited from those fathers and novices 
whom Newman felt not to be in full sympathy with himself. 
It was in January 1849 that the scheme of an affiliated Ora- 
tory in London was first considered. Dr. Wiseman had been 
transferred to the London district on the death of Bishop 
Griffiths, and urged Newman to change the habitat of the 
Oratory from Birmingham to London. Newman declined 
this proposal, but suggested the establishment of a branch 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 217 

of the congregation in the metropolis. A building in King 
William Street was secured. 1 Father Wilfrid Faber (who 
had only come to Alcester Street from St. Wilfrid's on April 10) 
went there for good on April 16, and was joined there in 
the same month by his intimate friend Anthony Hutchison 
and by Father Dalgairns. 

Thus the comradeship with Father Bernard Dalgairns 
the most intimate of recent years except only the friendship 
with Ambrose St. John came to an end. Newman writes 
thus to Faber on April 22: 

' Father Bernard is just gone. Curiously enough I have 
set down seven years, for a long while, as the term of 
Contubernium with my friends. Froude was with me from 
1827 to 1834. Rogers from 1833 to 1840, and when at the 
end of that time I saw him get on the Oxford coach for 
the continent, I thought of the seven years and wondered 
whether I should ever be with him again. Now F. Bernard 
came up to Littlemore on the eve of St. George 1842 and he 
leaves the Oratory here on St. George 1849. Don't mention 
this, as I have before now been afraid of Fr. Ambrose getting 
hold of it he is so fanciful.' 

Newman clearly felt that he was giving to those whom he 
sent to London in many ways the 'better part.' He had no 
wish to go to London himself, but he considered that he had 
shown all consideration for those from whom he was sepa- 
rating, as we see from the following words in a letter to Faber: 

' I conceive the state of the case is as follows: 
' We determine to colonize from Birmingham to London: 
Those who go, give up certain things: 

'They give up a formed house, the mother Oratory, 
possessed of vestments, churchplate, of the relics of St. 
Valentine, &c., of a library, &c., and as they go & voluntarily, 
they gain certain things instead: they gain the Metropolis, 
the centre of political and ecclesiastical influence; wealthy 
friends, and those, gentlemen, instead of a population exclusively 
of poor Catholics, a Bishop especially devout to St. Philip, and 
attached to his congregation; a selection of those members 

1 This building was afterwards Toole's Theatre, and W. G. Ward remarked 
after going to a very good play there: 'Yesterday I visited Toole's Theatre. 
Two thoughts came to my mind. The first was, "Last time I was here I heard 
Faber preach"; the second was, "How much more I am enjoying myself than 
I did when I was last here!"' 


of the Congregation who are richest; it has struck me ever 
since the division was contemplated, as it now is, and I wrote 
it down to mention at the time of that division, and am sorry 
I did not, that the balance was more in favour of the London 
house than it ought to be. 7 

The formal opening of the London Oratory was fixed for 
May 31. The London group, both in their differences from 
Newman and in their loyalty to him, succeeded in some sort 
to the rSle played by W. G. Ward and his friends at 
Oxford. Devoted to Newman personally, they were, as he 
came gradually to think, somewhat rash and imprudent 
in their enthusiastn. It was a difference both of age and of 
temperament, Newman, anxious to avoid display and 
unnecessary innovation, was content to move slowly and 
cautiously. He desired to avoid giving offence whether to the 
old Catholics, to the ecclesiastical authorities, or to the British 
Lion. His younger and more impetuous followers were eager 
to be up and doing. In Newman's eyes they did not fully 
realise the effect of their actions or count the cost. They 
paced the London streets in the Oratorian habit in sight of the 
Commissioner of Woods and Forests. 1 They were caricatured 
in Punch, and rumours came from several quarters of the 
irritation which a spectacle so strange to the Londoners of 1849 
caused. Again, they were reported to be hypercritical and to 
love strong expressions. Newman seems to have been in two 
minds when his friends were censured for indiscretion. Some 
of it was the outcome of a joy in their new faith which the 
world could not understand. He speaks of this in a striking 
passage in one of Ms sermons preached at this time: 

It sometimes happens that those who join the Catholic 
Church from some Protestant community, are seen to change 
the uncertainty and hesitation of mind which they showed 
before their conversion, into a clear and fearless confidence; 
they doubted about their old community, they have no doubt 
about their new. They have no fears, no anxieties, no 
difficulties, no scruples. They speak as they feel; and the 
world, not understanding that this is the effect of the grace 
which (as we may humbly trust) these happy souls have 
received, not understanding that^ though it has full experi- 

1 Sir R. Inglis, the Commissioner of Woods and Forests, was a strong 
Evangelical. ' 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 219 

ence of the region of the shadow of death In which it lies, it has 
none at all of that city whereof the Lord God and the Lamb 
is the light, measuring what Catholics have by what itself 
has not, cries out, "How forward, how unnatural, how ex- 
cited, how extravagant! " and it considers that such a change 
is a change for the worse, and a proof that the step was a 
mistake and a fault because it produces precisely that effect 
which it would produce, were it a change for the better.' 

On the other hand, his letters to Faber himself show 
that Newman was not without some misgivings as to the 
prudence of his London brethren. He writes on May 12: 

'Now I will tell you frankly, that I think you have been too 
go-a-head with the Bishop, and I say it the rather, because if 
you do not look sharp, you will be carried off your legs. I hear 
that dear Father Edward spreads out his cloak like a peacock's 
tail in the sight of Sir R. Inglis. While the Tablet, before you 
are well in your saddles in King William Street, advertises you 
to the universe as its destined saviour. All this will create fear, 
odium, jealousy and you may have the newspapers or the 
Woods and Forests 1 step in and do you a mischief. The 
Woods and Forests might at least pull off your habits for you. 

C I was not pleased at your talking of Dr. Ullathorne as 
a little man it may be a fact, but it is not a dogmatic fact, 
which the Church may rule contrariwise. I suppose the 
Church may rule he is a tall man in the eyes of the Church 
he is a tall man. 3 

Again on May 15: 

'Take my word. Beware of being carried off your legs 
just now. I had written a joking note to you the other day 
on the subject, but was afraid to send it, when I saw the 
earnest tone your letters were taking. 

'I have been rendered anxious by one or two things. I 
suppose none of you knew what was to be, but that article in 
the Tablet about us should not have appeared without my 
being consulted. And now again you take it for granted the 
opening is to be advertised, and perhaps my name is to 
appear, yet I have not been asked about the advertisement. 
In like manner I ought to have seen your letter to the 
Bishop. The word "Philippine" is an innovation of the 
same kind, though perhaps without your knowing about it. 

'Depend on it, Carissime, you all need my control over 
1 The Commissioner of Woods and Forests. 


you in little things at this minute, more than you have yet, 
or will again. You may damage everything just now. It 
is a very critical time/ 

Faber promised to enter into Newman's views, but 
pleaded that he had no authority wherewith to enforce them. 
Before the formal opening, therefore, Newman appointed 
him Rector of the London Oratory. We see throughout 
his letters his desire to give the younger men free scope and 
yet his wish to retain a certain control in matters where Ms 
own maturer judgment was required. 

' Advertise the day of opening/ he writes, 'by all means 
and in your own words. But what I mean, and the chief or 
only thing I wish to have a voice in, is external things, the 
modes of growing into notice. I am not quite satisfied, e.g. 
to hear that Sir R. Inglis stared at Father Edward. The 
Jesuits may have an excess of caution, but they are wiser in 
these matters. My very wish that you shall wear your habit 
in London makes me fear any wanton display which may look 
like a bravado and strip you of it. I feel what you say about 
want of control be then at once and hereby Rector of the 
London Community and I will write to Father Minister by 
this day's post and say what I have done, and that he is now 
naturally Father Minister and Missioner, as he has lost all his 
subjects. And be absolute in all internal matters. Only, as 
I have said, I should like to have an opinion on the services 
(when they are out of the way) and on public announcements/ 

c As to my position at the opening/ Newman continues on 
May 20, *do you know that it is the usage of the Chiesa Nuova 
on great functions, for the Father Superior to serve as acolyte? 
We saw Father Cesarini so serving, either on S. Philip's day 
or at St. Nereo. Therefore if you will put me into the 
function, I claim my place there is no precedent for making 
me priest assistant, and I murdered it at Fulham/ 

The opening ceremony was duly carried out on May 31, 
and Newman describes the event in a letter to Ambrose 
St. John: 

'Oratory: London, May 31, 1849. 

'The scaffolds were not out of the Church till last 
evening, nor the workmen till past eleven this morning. 
The Bishop (Dr. Wiseman) preached a most beautiful sermon 
in composition and logic a perfect sermon, and with great 
feeling. He preached from the Altar. The music was com- 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 221 

posed by Capes expressly for the occasion. The Collection 
(to our friends) very disappointing. I am no judge 30. 
They expected 100 at each service. 

'It is now close on five and the carriages are setting 
down their burdens. Birmingham is a place of peace. 
that I had wings like a dove for I do dislike this preaching 
so much. 3 

The intense piety and zeal of Father Wilfrid and his 
friends soon had their effect, and Newman could but give 
thanks. 'I rejoice to hear such good accounts/ he writes on 
June 15; 'some one writes to-day "God be praised for your 
success in London. I hear of nothing but the stir the 
Oratorians are producing. It makes many storm and 

Soon the question arose, what to do with St. Wilfrid's? 
the house of the Wilfridians who had joined the Oratory. 
For long this difficulty exercised them, and eventually Newman 
proposed to solve it by founding a school under the direction 
of the Oratorians a scheme which came to naught at the time, 
but was realised ten years later, not at St. Wilfrid's but at 
Edgbaston. The difficulties of the situation were summed up 
by Newman, after months of discussion, in the following 
characteristic memorandum : 

'There is the famous story of the man who bought an 
elephant, and was too poor to keep, and too merciful to 
kill it, and was unable to persuade any one to accept of it. 
We are in somewhat of the same case. 

'i. We cannot live at St. Wilfrid's because it is against 
our Rule. 

C 2. We cannot shut it up because we are bound to keep 
up the Mission. 

'3. We cannot return it to the Earl of Shrewsbury because 
it is ecclesiastical property. 

'4. We cannot give it away, for no one, neither District 
nor Religious Body, will accept so expensive a gift. 

'5. We cannot, much less, sell, for no one will buy. 

'6. We cannot let it to a family, for the Earl of Shrews- 
bury will not hear of it. 

'7. We cannot let it for a school, for the Bishop protests 
against it. 

'8. Yet we cannot keep it because of expense. 

1 Problem, like the quadrature of the circle, what is to be 


done with St. Wilfrid's? It is a gain to get any plan, and 
undesirable as the following may be, before we put it alto- 
gether aside we must look at all the difficulties in the face 
and propose another or a better. 

'To take boys above fourteen or fifteen years of age, and 
at a pension not tinder (?) 150. 

"To educate them under two Fathers, one from each 
house, as directors of the Institution, and by means of persons 
from the Universities not members of the Oratory, e.g. 
F. Minister, as Rector and spiritual adviser F. N. as super- 
intendent of studies. . . . 

*i. The age and pension of the boys precludes all inter- 
ference with Catholic Colleges. 

'2. The consequent rank, &c. ? of the boys approximates 
it to an Oratorian undertaking, as near as can be at 
Naples they have an Oratorio dei Nobili, as distinct from the 
Common Oratory. 

'3. Some of the Professors might in progress of time, not 
to say the boys, be converted into Oratorian subjects. 3 

We see in another letter that he regards the proposed 
school primarily as a feeder for the Oratory, the place of 
early education for Oratorians of the future. 

6 1 should like St. Wilfrid's to be the Eton of the Oratory 
a place where Fathers would turn with warm associations 
of boyhood or at least youth a place where they wish to be 
buried (where their relics would be kept) a gin bottle or 
cayenne phial of the Venerabile servo di Dio, il Padre Wilfrido 
Faber, an old red biretta of his Eminence C. Robert Coffin, 
and a double tooth and knuckle bone of St. Aloysius of 

Again he writes : 

*I think you will find no order or congregation but finds 
a school necessary to feed the order. The Benedictines 
profess this to be the only reason of their school at Downside, 
by which they do not gain. Stonyhurst has fed the Society 
the Rosminians have begun a school. The Passionists who 
have no school, have no novices. Looking to the future, it is 
a question whether we can keep up the Congregation without 
a school in some shape or other. 3 

Newman's original plan was to take part in the work of 
the London Oratory for three months in the year, spending the 
rest of his time amid his books at Birmingham. And the old 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 223 

thought remained the hope that he might, in connection with 
the necessary education of his novices, with a view to Holy 
Orders, do a work for Catholic Theology and polemics by 
driving home the lessons of history. Dalgairns, who had been 
two years earlier so warm a supporter of this plan, had now 
so completely fallen into the very different programme mapped 
out by Faber, that he failed to enter into Newman's wish to 
devote special attention to theologico-historical work, and 
spoke of it as contrary to the spirit of the Italian Oratorians. 

Newman, in defining his view, explains: 

' When I spoke of a school, I hardly meant of dogmatics 
but much more of history, which is quite Oratorian and 
particularly early history and the early Pagan history and 
the management of controversy, i.e. polemics all which our 
Rule contemplates in the alteration expressly made on the 
Chiesa Nuova Rule as to the matter of our sermons. 7 

Faber and Dalgairns argued that such an ideal was more 
in the line of Cardinal Berrulle and the French Oratorians 
than of the followers of St. Philip. With this view Newman 
did not agree. He writes on June 19, 1849: 

'I don't see the appositeness of what you say about the 
French and Italian Oratory. I suppose Baronius, Bozius, and 
Gallonio (immediate disciples of St. Philip), Rainaldus, 
Severanus, Aringhi, Galland (1770), de Magistris (1790), 
and Theiner (1840) are as learned men as any in the 
French Oratory, e.g. Thomassinus, Cotelerius, Morinus, Lami, 
Massillon, Quesnel; these are all I recollect. And I suspect 
the Italians, as a whole, beat them can boast more learned 
men than any Brummagems ever will be, and you will observe 
they stretch from St. Philip's time to this day. Let me hear 
what you have to say to this. 3 

The two houses did not agree on the question, and 
Newman did not press his view on the London house. Still 
he maintained that his proposal was in line with St. Philip's 
rule and with their own Brief. 

A certain difference of tone and habit between the two 
houses was visible the reflection of the strong personalities 
of Newman and Faber respectively. And as time went 
on and Catholics in England divided into the two schools 


of thought, the London Oratory was identified in popular 
estimation with one, the Birmingham with the other. 
These schools of thought had their counterpart throughout 
the Catholic world being represented in France (though 
with certain differences) by the two reviews, the Vnivers and 
the Correspondant. 

The Oratory hymns, now so well known, were begun at 
this time. Faber's reputation as a poet, established by his 
'Sir Launcelot' and sealed by Wordsworth's recognition, 
marked him out for work of this kind, and Newman 
encouraged it though not without giving some of the novice 
master's criticism. Faber's first attempts were on subjects 
which Newman accounted too theological and too scholastic 
for church hymns. And his sense of humour stuck at the 
younger man's theology in rhyme, which recalled the 
effusions of Evangelical poets. 

'I admire your poems, 3 Newman writes; 'I don't revolt 
at the " Predestination" but I stuck at the scholasticism. 
Have not I heard similar dogmatic effusions, though of an 
opposite school? e.g. 

( My righteousness is " filthy rags," 
No " merits" can I plead, 
For man is but a "lump of sin," 
And sin his worthiest deed, 

vel splendidum illud et trochaicum: 

' Man is but " accounted righteous," 
And, tho* justified, must sin. 
Grace does nought but wash the surface, 
Leaving him all-foul within.' 

Newman wished the Oratorian poetry to form a book, 
partly sacred and partly profane. Mr. Capes, then editor of 
the Rambler, proposed to publish two poems in each number, 
giving permission that they should in the end be republished 
in one volume, to be called Songs of the Oratory.' 

'I smile, invulnerable and prepared/ Newman writes to 
Faber in January 1850, r at your quiet hit at my having 
time to versify I "make" them while shaving. 

'I have an idea, which you may pluck what say you to 
a series of poems in the Rambler, such as the Lyra Apostolica 
in the British Magazine. It would do good to the Rambler, 
without possibly incurring the jealousy of the Dublin. 
Entitle it "Songs of the Oratory." I would have them of 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 225 

every sort, songs, hymns, ballads, epigrams, latin poetry. . . . 
There would be you, Caswall, I, Father Bernard (under 
obedience), Father Nicolas for Latin, and did St. Philip 
understand Greek, they might be from Mr. Simpson. You 
would be the staple I should just do enough to connect my 
name with it, and should use my old signature supposing 
only 2 were put into each number, it would literally take no 

'Form ^and send me some idea/ he writes in February, 
c of the object of the book. In the Lyra, my object was not 
poetry but to bring out ideas. Thus my harshness, as you 
justly call it, was part (if nothing else) of a theory. I felt it 
absurd to set up for a poet so, I wrote from Rome (where I 
was) to Keble, to tell him, we (Froude and I) wished merely 
to inflict and fix sentiments into men's minds. All mine are 
written with this view, and I think this only and I affected 
a contempt of everything else. 

'Now, however, we are, I suppose, poets, with characters 
to lose, grounded on Lilies and Launcelots. Still you must 
have a drift what is it? e.g. have you any old secular poems, 
such as it would be waste of time to write now ? they would 
come in well, and salt over the St. Wilfrid's portion of the 
scope. But how to combine this with any ecclesiastical 
purpose? it seems to resolve the volume into a simple 
collection of poems well is this or is this not enough? I am 
inquiring. The difficulty would be the juxta-position of 
secular and ecclesiastical, like pictures in a gallery. Would 
it be possible, e.g. to have your death of St. Philip (which I 
have not seen) vis d vis or arm in arm with the sort of trash 
I send you a specimen of though, for myself, I have hardly 
any thing to rummage out of past years. 7 

The 'Songs of the Oratory' never appeared, and the only 
result of this letter was the publication in the Rambler (March 
to August 1850) of eight pieces four by Faber, three by 
Newman, and one by Caswall bearing the title of 'Poetry' 
and 'Oratorium Parvum.' Each Oratory subsequently went 
its own way. From Birmingham we have had Newman's 
own verses, including the c Dream of Gerontius' and the 
charming poems and translations of Father Caswall and 
Father Ignatius Ryder, while the London Oratory hymns 
are sung in nearly every Catholic Church in England. 

It would be tedious to follow the daily fortunes of the 
Oratories in further detail. Long and minute letters 
VOL. I. I 


passed between the two houses some three or four times a 
week. They are for the most part of no public interest. The 
characters of the different novices or fathers, the ritual 
ordinances, the practical work, the pecuniary arrangements 
all come under review. Newman continued to complain that 
he had no longer the energy of old days, and yet he could not 
but be conscious that the great powers which still remained 
to his deep and well-stored mind were being almost ex- 
hausted by attention to matters which an inferior man of 
strong practical sense, and less sensitive, would have done a 
good deal better. 

When Mr. Capes had asked him in April 1849 to send a 
contribution to the Rambler he had had to decline simply for 
want of leisure: 

'At present/ he writes, 'Dalgairns' going increases my 
work. It is an anxious time of the year Lent past 
summer coming, and Dalgairns gone, we are obliged to be 
very much on the alert. Then our members forming, some 
coming, some come, everyone taking his place, as one would 
in a stage coach, accommodating legs and stowing parcels. 
You know what a scare there is on deck when a vessel is 
just under weigh packages, boxes, mackintoshes, live fowls, 
sheep and qualmish women strewed about in all directions. 
The school department, the instruction department, the 
mission department and the confession department, all 
have to be organised. Then the House is full of masons, 
carpenters and painters, not to say upholsterers lath and 
plaster partitions, doors, windows, passages, bridges, skylights, 
and book-cases being all in course of formation. Fervet opus. 
Then, an eye must be kept upon the London House . . . 
and St. Wilfrid's must not be forgotten. You will understand 
then that visions of reading and writing, except sermons, do 
not appear even in the offing. If in any way I could associate 
my name with your undertaking I should be glad but I can 
promise nothing definite at present.' 

All this work came to him as the call of duty 'lead 
Thou me on 7 and he seems to have thought of little else 
than this. One of the early trials of the Congregation con- 
sisted in the number of persons who, attracted by Newman's 
great name and character, presented themselves as applicants 
to join it. Many of these were excellent and able men, but 
unsuited to the Oratorian life. Some, however, were simply 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 227 

eccentrics whom it took a little time to find out. The 
consequence was that some seven novices had to leave within 
a few months. This delayed getting things into such regular 
order as helped towards peace of mind or effective work. 
On July 19, with some weariness, but also with a saving 
sense of humour, Newman relates to Faber the last dis- 
appointment the case of a real oddity who had abruptly 
to be dismissed: 

'I could laugh at our misfortunes were they not worries. 
Have you heard the "last"? E. is gone! He drank too 
much beer, laid himself out on the kitchen dresser, packed 
up and went! Omnia tendunt visibiliter ad non esse, as 
King Edward says in our Oriel statutes. Formby, Whitty, 
A., B., C, D., and now E.! et tu Brute. Fr. Minister was so 
anxious for him. I think of Lycidas too and Eurydice, and 
the "prensantem umbras " and the "Ter frustra," and have 
all sorts of confused indescribable images in my mind. For 
where are we? Every morning we rise, and there is a fresh 
announcement; but lament is in vain, for we must now 
"trick our beams," and "repair our drooping head," so to 
business. 7 

We must not omit to chronicle an act of Newman's 
which went far to making the hereditary Catholics realise 
the true character of one whom they did not all rightly 
understand at first. When the cholera broke out at Bilston 
in September 1849, Newman repaired thither in com- 
pany with Father Ambrose St. John and Brother Aloysius, 
to help the resident priest, who was overcome with 
the work. The priest had shown great heroism, carrying 
on his back to the hospital those suddenly stricken down. 
The epidemic ceased almost immediately after the Oratorians 
arrived, but their prompt readiness to brave the pestilence 
and to help a priest who had no special claim on them 
was long remembered. 

Newman was still a little anxious lest the London house 
should create irritation in the British public by a certain 
want of prudence in its zeal. 

'As to yourselves/ he wrote to Faber, 'if a squall comes 
you must make yourselves comfortable in the cabin after 
taking in your sail. Be very much on your guard against 


extravagances. They say you are going to paint the souls 
in Purgatory but we settled together you were to have only 
an inscription else, Mr. Binney will say that it represents 
Protestants at Smithfield.' 

By the end of 1849, however, the note struck in the 
correspondence is hopeful and confident. The London 
Fathers had made many conversions among the poor and 
some in the higher classes, including Lady Arundel and 
Surrey, the future Duchess of Norfolk. The services were 
well attended in both houses. Newman preached to crowded 
congregations in Birmingham, of Protestants as well as 
Catholics, the discourses afterwards published under the 
name of ' Sermons for Mixed Congregations.' Their effect 
in Birmingham itself was very marked at the time; and 
when they were published they came upon a large circle 
of readers as wonderful efforts in a species of oratory far 
more ornate, more akin to the great French preachers 
Bossuet, Bourdaloue, Massillon than the chastened simpli- 
city of the Oxford Parochial Sermons. Money was coming in 
abundance. In the personnel of the Oratories the tares had 
been sifted from the wheat, and those who remained were 
useful and zealous members. Some anxiety is still betrayed 
by Newman in his letters on the score of prudence some 
fear of arousing jealousy through unguarded words or deeds 
but his advice is given tenderly, and seems to amount 
to little more than that drag on the wheel which zealous 
and impetuous natures must ever require. 

The following letters to Faber belong to February 

'Before reading your sermons (which I will do and 
remark on them presently) I will say a word about those 
in prospect. We are prospering so much I am anxious lest 
we should have too much sail out. . . . 

'Then there is an incipient jealousy in Dr. Wiseman (of 
which you must not make too much in him) which is an index 
of something in the air. Dr. Newsham writes to me about 
our great doings things magnify at a distance. Then there 
is Lady Arundel, and I expect more converts here. In short, 
we are felt to be a power exaggeratedly so it is our 
momentum does it for four years we have been quiescent 

THE ENGLISH ORATORY (1848-1850) 229 

the greatest of weights does nothing at rest but let it move 
ever so little, it does a deal. 

'Now at Rome they are especially jealous of any great 
power unless they can be quite sure of it. If they had perfect 
faith in us, they would do anything for us but we are 
converts, partially untried and one least fault will tell 
against us the more, as heavy bodies have the more danger- 
ous falls. And we have no friend at Rome. . . . Therefore 
I say, before looking at your notes, we must be careful what 
we are doing. Recollect this too, that you preach without 
book. Now what you said about Gothic architecture, or 
what you did not say, in a sermon some months ago, went 
about and was criticized far and wide. You ought to be able 
to know just what you have said, and say just what you 
mean. . . . ? 

On his birthday February 21 he writes: 

( Thanks for your congratulations, masses, and dolce. . . . 
I congratulate you in turn on your Sermons being ready, and 
marvel how you do things. Every year I get more languid 
and cumbersome. To move my mind is like putting a 
machine in motion, not an act of volition; yet Aristotle puts 
down 49 as the acme of mental vigour. But the body 
affects it. This time ten years was my severest fast now 
the most trifling deprivation makes me unable to hold up my 
limbs. Grace only supplies the diminution of vital energy 
whether to body or mind. I wish every one who prays for 
me would ask for me efficacia desideria. The poor fellow 
whose criticism I enclose * talks of iron wills; I would I had 
some portion of such galvanic power in me.' 

To another correspondent who reported the opinion of a 
friend that Newman was himself already one of the Saints of 
the Church he wrote in the same month: 

'You must undeceive Miss A. B. about me, though I 
suppose she uses words in a general sense. I have nothing 
of a saint about me as every one knows, and it is a severe 
(and salutary) mortification to be thought next door to 
one. I may have a high view of many things, but it is 
the consequence of education and a peculiar cast of intellect 
but this is very different from being what I admire. I have 
no tendency to be a saint it is a sad thing to say so. Saints 
are not literary men, they do not love the classics, they do 

1 A review in the Inquirer of the Sermons to Mixed Congregations. 


not write Tales. I may be well enough in my way, but it is 
not the "high line.' 7 People ought to feel this, most people 
do. But those who are at a distance have exalted notions 
about one. It is enough for me to black the saints' shoes 
if St. Philip uses blacking in heaven.' 

On March 8, 1850, came the celebrated decision of the 
Privy Council in what was known as the 'Gorham case' 
overruling the refusal of the Bishop of Exeter (confirmed by 
the Court of Arches) to institute Mr. G. C. Gorham to the 
vicarage of Brampford Speke on the ground that he denied 
the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Here was a glaring 
case of the civil power asserting its supremacy over the 
spiritual as to what was the orthodox doctrine in an English 
clergyman, and making its decision on behalf of latitudinarian 
doctrine. Many Tractarians who had hitherto held back 
from Rome, including such influential men as Hope-Scott, 
Manning, and T. W. Allies, felt keenly this challenge to their 
position. Their following in Newman's footsteps appeared 
to be imminent. A strongly signed protest was at once 
drawn up at the house of Mr. Hope-Scott in Curzon Street 
against the action of the Privy Council. The matter caused 
great excitement in the press and among Anglicans generally, 
and seemed to call for some public comment from Newman. 

Yet he shrank from interfering. It could not be c a little 
war,' he told Faber, and might lead to exhausting controversy. 
For to touch it was to raise the whole Anglican question. 
Still he now had some leisure. The 'Sermons to Mixed Con- 
gregations' had been passed for press in October, and Father 
Faber and other friends had been urging him to lecture on 
the situation in the King William Street Oratory in London. 
In the end he complied with their request, and wrote 
the brilliantly witty lectures on Anglicanism of which some 
account must be given, and which now form the first volume 
of 'The Difficulties of Anglicans' in his published works. 



THE Anglican controversy, as such, was always somewhat 
distasteful to Newman. While preparing his Lectures of 1850 
on 'The Difficulties of Anglicans' he remarked in a letter to 
Father Faber, 'I am writing them intellectually against the 
grain more than I ever recollect doing anything. 7 The contro- 
versy with the Church of England did not go to the root of 
the deepest difficulties of the day. 'He is quite annoyed/ 
writes Mr. de Vere in this very year, 'at having to spend any 
time on Anglicanism. 7 1 He felt, too, that different minds 
needed different treatment. At the outset he had been 
inclined (as I have already said) to leave the matter alone and 
let the facts that were occurring in connection with the 
Gorham case speak for themselves the anomalies in the 
Church of England being their own witness. 'As the English 
Church has brewed, so must it drink, the cup of indignation 
and wrath/ he wrote to Faber in March. 'And we have 
nothing to do with it.' 

But by the end of April the lectures were decided on. 

'Tell me what length my lectures should be?' he writes 
to Father Faber on April 28; 'if they last an hour, they must 
be as much as 30 pages octavo letter press, or something 
like 40 duodecimo, which seems enormous. Let me know; 
I will conform, whatever it is.' 

'Also I am perplexed either some of them will be 
most impressively dull or they will be too much on the 
other tack; and I am frightened at the chance of being 
satirical, &c., before the Blessed Sacrament. Would a curtain 
be possible?' 

The lectures were delivered once a week in the Oratory 
Church in King William Street, Strand, beginning on May 9. 
1 Life of Aubrey de Vere, p. 182. 


It was Newman's first appearance as a lecturer since 1845, 
and many non-Catholics attended the lectures. They are 
landmarks in Newman's history for two reasons. Along with 
the ' Sermons to Mixed Congregations' they represent among 
his published works the i honeymoon' period of Newman's 
Catholic life. They have a tone of exultant optimism which 
we find at no other moment of his life either as an Anglican 
or as a Catholic. Moreover, the first seven lectures are, I 
think, the only instances among his writings of what might 
be called aggressive controversy. Here perhaps we trace 
the influence of his younger disciples. All Newman's later 
controversial efforts were defensive. In the c Present Position 
of Catholics' he is refuting the monstrous and absurd calumnies 
against Catholics which the Papal Aggression brought to the 
front. The Dublin lectures defended the time-honoured place 
of theology in education, which modern freethinkers were 
questioning. The ' Apologia' defended its writer and his 
Church from Kingsley's unmannerly charges. The 'Letter to 
Dr. Pusey' was an answer to the ' Eirenicon.' The ' Letter to 
the Duke of Norfolk' was an answer to Gladstone's attack on 
the Vatican decrees. The lectures on Anglican difficulties, 
on the contrary, are themselves an attack. Their practical 
object was to bring to the Catholic and Roman Church 
those who, after following him to the very brink, hesitated 
to take the final step. They were addressed to the Trac- 
tarians who remained in the Anglican Church the friends 
he had left behind him. 

The lectures are well known, for they were carefully revised 
and published as a volume. In point of mere literary 
power they rank high among his works. The first seven aim 
at showing that the true outcome of the movement of '33 is 
the Church of Rome that the movement is essentially alien 
to the Anglican Church. The last five aim at removing 
objections to the Catholic and Roman Church. In the 
'Apologia' he insists on the value of the Anglican Church as 
a breakwater against infidelity; in these lectures one of the 
most brilliant passages goes to show that what is really 
religious in the life of Anglicanism and he recognises this 
to the full is alien to the Church Established. 

'Is the Establishment's life merely national life/ he asks, 'or 


is it something more? Is it Catholic life as well? Is it a super- 
natural life? Is it congenial with, does it proceed from, does it 
belong to, the principles of Apostles, Martyrs, Evangelists, and 
Doctors, the principles which the movement of 1833 thought 
to impose or to graft upon it, or does it revolt from them?' 

His wish, as he expressly said, was not to weaken the 
hold of the Anglican Church on the many, but only on 
those who he believed ought to join the Church of Rome. 
In addressing them he was, as in the letters to Henry 
Wilberforce, earnest, insistent, onesided. 

The lectures made a great impression on their hearers. 
Their effect on one singularly competent critic who heard 
them and largely disagreed with their argument and con- 
clusion has been left on record. The late Mr. R. H. Hutton 
in his study of Newman 1 writes of them as follows: 

'I think the "Lectures on Anglican Difficulties" was the 
first book of Newman's generally read among Protestants, 
in which the measure of his literary power could be ade- 
quately taken. . . . It is a book, however, which adds but 
little to our insight into his mind, though it adds much to 
our estimate of his powers. I shall never forget the impression 
which his voice and manner, which opened upon me for the 
first time in these lectures, made on me. Never did a voice 
seem better adapted to persuade without irritating. Singularly 
sweet, perfectly free from any dictatorial note, and yet rich in 
all the cadences proper to the expression of pathos, of wonder, 
and of ridicule, there was still nothing in it that any one could 
properly describe as insinuating, for its simplicity, and 
frankness, and freedom from the half-smothered notes which 
express indirect purpose, was as remarkable as its sweetness, 
its freshness, and its gentle distinctness. As he described the 
growth of his disillusionment with the Church of England, 
and compared it to the transformation which takes place in 
fairy tales when the magic castle vanishes, the spell is broken, 
"and nothing is seen but the wild heath, the barren rock, 
and the forlorn sheep-walk," no one could have doubted that 
he was describing with perfect truth the change that had 
taken place in his own mind. "So it is with us," he said, "as 
regards the Church of England, when we look in amazement 
on that we thought so unearthly, and find so common-place 
or worthless. Then we perceive that aforetime we have not 

1 Cardinal Newman. By R. H. Hutton. Methuen: 1890. 


been guided by reason, but biased by education, and swayed 
by affection. We see in the English Church, I will not 
merely say, no descent from the first ages, and no relationship 
to the Church in other lands, but we see no body politic 
of any kind; we see nothing more or less than an establish- 
ment, a department of government, or a function or operation 
of the State without a substance, a mere collection of 
officials, depending on and living on the supreme civil power. 
Its unity and personality are gone, and with them its power 
of exciting feelings of any kind. It is easier to love or hate 
an abstraction than so tangible a frame-work or machinery. " 

' This is of course an exaggerated view. It is not true that the 
State can do what it pleases with the English Church, can mod- 
ify its theology or change its liturgy at will; but it is still less 
true that the Church can do as she will without the consent of 
the State. The English Church is an amalgam of two alien 
organizations, not the organized form of a religious society. 

'This whole lecture delivers one of the most powerful 
attacks ever opened on the Anglican theory of the Church as 
independent of the State. Not less powerful was Newman's 
delineation, in the fifth lecture, of the collapse of the Anglican 
theory of the Church when applied to practice. The 
Anglicans, he said, "had reared a goodly house, but their 
foundations were falling in. The soil and masonry both 
were bad. The Fathers would protect i Romanists' as well 
as extinguish Dissenters. The Anglican divines would 
misquote the Fathers and shrink from the very doctors to 
whom they appealed. The Bishops of the seventeenth 
century were shy of the Bishops of the fourth, and the Bishops 
of the nineteenth were shy of the Bishops of the seventeenth. 
The Ecclesiastical Courts upheld the sixteenth century 
against the seventeenth, and, unconscious of the flagrant 
irregularities of Protestant clergymen, chastised the mild 
misdemeanours of Anglo-Catholic. Soon the living rulers of 
the Establishment began to move. There are those who, 
reversing the Roman maxim, are wont to shrink from the 
contumacious, and to be valiant towards the submissive; and 
the authorities in question gladly availed themselves of the 
power conferred on them by the movement itself. They 
fearlessly hanselled their Apostolical weapons against the 
Apostolical party. One after another, in long succession, 
they took up their song and their parable against it. 1 It was 
a solemn war-dance which they executed round victims, 
1 This refers to the charges of the Bishops against Tract 90. 


who, by their very principles, were bound hand and foot, and 
could only eye, with disgust and perplexity, this most 
unaccountable movement on the part of these 'holy Fathers, 
the representatives of the Apostles and the Angels of the 
Churches.' It was the beginning of the end.' 77 

One reason which made the composition of his lectures 
on the Anglican controversy, with all their brilliancy, dis- 
tasteful to him, gave specially congenial interest to his 
private correspondence on the same subject in those 
years. He felt that words used publicly and afterwards 
printed would be read by persons representing the most 
various standpoints. What was most cogent to those who 
were already far advanced towards Rome would seem 
trivial and inconclusive to others. Even among those who 
had been influenced by the Oxford Movement, there were 
many shades of opinion. All this made the lectures unsatis- 
factory to him. In his correspondence, on the other hand, 
he could take account of such differences, and play on each 
mind as the special instrument demanded. Much of his 
time from 1848 to 1850 was devoted to writing to intimate 
friends who had stopped short of taking the final, step. By 
far the largest number of letters of this nature were written 
to Henry Wilberforce and Mrs. William Froude. And in 
his letters to Mrs. Froude he has tender and anxious 
thoughts for her husband, who, like his brother, James Antony 
Froude, was drifting away from all definite religious belief. 
Henry Wilberforce he urged onwards incessantly. But with 
Mrs. Froude he was less pressing, and to her he spoke 
more of the difficulties she was likely to find in Roman 
Catholicism if she made the great change. Each group of 
letters has a unity of its own. I here select only a few 

typical specimens. 

'St. Wilfrid's, Cheadle: December 9, 1848. 

'My dear Henry, I do not know what I have to say in 
answer to your letter except to assure you that I remember 

' Christmas Day. I leave the above to show my good 
intentions. You are ever in my thoughts, and yours. This 
blessed day, my first Mass at twelve (midnight), I gave to 
the Pope my second at half past two to our Congregation 
my third at seven to all my friends and acquaintances, who 


still are Protestants. You, dearest Henry, were not forgotten, 
but I will not believe, you shall not make me, that you are for 
ever so to be classed, so to be remembered. The midnight 
mass was a high one and I communicated 120 persons at it. 
We have had masses going on literally through the night, 36 
in all as if in emulation of the angels who sang through the 
night 1800 years ago " Glory to God, peace on earth. 3 ' 
Some of us have not been to bed at all. Dear Father Ambrose 
especially, as Sacristan, has been hard worked. He got to bed 
between five and six, and we were amused to find on his door, 
" Please don't call me, and don't knock" but he is up again 
now (10) and has" just left me in order to sing his third Mass, 
which is also High Mass but we don't expect many people 
this morning. (P.S. On the contrary, there is a very fairly 
full Church, and Benediction will be crowded.) The mid- 
night Mass was not over till three. A large portion of the 
congregation live two miles away. 

'If this were in the centre of the town I declare I think 
it would convert a good half of it by its very look. We have 
had a number of most splendid functions but we shall soon 
(many of us) leave it for Birmingham for a gloomy gin 
distillery, of which we have taken a lease, fitting up a large 
room for a Chapel. When we shall get to London we don't 
know prospered as we have been, still we want hands for such 
an undertaking. Lately several of our Fathers held a mission 
in this neighbourhood. They heard between 700 and 800 
confessions and received 22 persons into the Church. Never 
surely were the words more strikingly exemplified, "The 
Harvest is great, the labourers are few," than in England. 
We could convert England, humanly speaking, at least the 
lower classes, had we priests enough. 

'With all best wishes of this happy season, my dear 
Henry, Ever yours affectionately, 


In January he writes to the same correspondent: 

'I have heard something about you which makes me sad 
that you countenanced on November ist the changes in 
Margaret Street which (if what I hear they are) I will not 
designate. What have you to do with Subdeacons and the 
like? I should have thought you far too sensible a fellow to 
go into such ways. While you stick to the old Church of 
England ways you are respectable it is going by a sort 
of tradition -when you profess to return to lost Church 


of England ways, you are rational but when you invent 
a new ceremonial, which never was, when you copy the 
Roman or other foreign rituals, you are neither respectable 
nor rational. It is sectarian. That is what I say of Pusey 
now he does not affect to appeal to any authority but 
his own interpretation of the Fathers, and [to] the sanction 
of old Anglicans for this or that but as a whole, he is 
not reviving anything that ever was anywhere for 1800 years. 
There is a tradition of High Church, and of Low Church 
but none of what now is justly called Puseyism. 

* Thank you for dear Robert's l letter. I am glad he speaks 
better of me than he did two years since when he dissuaded a 
man from following me on the ground of his personal knowledge, 
that 20 years since I was on the verge of madness. This was 
a rhetorical argument when he came to Oxford, rhetoric 
went to flight and the heart spoke. Ought not conscience 
to be the child of such a pair as heart and rhetoric. 

'Now you are saying, Carissime, "What's the matter with 
him? He is in a terribly bad humour, he does nothing but 
bite/' I wish I could bite you with my madness, though 
I know you dread large dogs and little. 7 

On March 7 Newman urges on his friend the central 
argument from the Essay on Development: 

'As to my Essay [on Development] you mistake in one 
minor matter, it is not the argument from unity or 
Catholicity which immediately weighs with me, but from 
Apostolicity. In that book is asked why does its author 
join the Catholic Church? The answer is, because it is 
the Church of St. Athanasius and St. Ambrose. Vid. the 
passage about St. Athanasius and St. Ambrose coming ftrom 
Treves to Oxford. And it is an argument natural to weigh 
with me who have so many years been engaged in the 
meditation of early Church History and it is as natural 
that the difficulties I had felt, and the difficulties I there 
answer, should be difficulties of doctrine, since I have 
studied in Church History the history of doctrine more 
than anything else. You may recollect too that the one 
idea which for years was before me, was, "the Anglican 
Church corresponds to the Semi-arians, corresponds to the 
Monophy sites" It is contained in the letter I wrote to 
Robert in Autumn of 1841; it had been in my mind as early 
as summer 1839. I never shook it off how could I? when 
1 Robert Wilberforce. 


to every reader of Church History it is so plain. Nothing is 
more day-clear than this, that unless there never was a Church 
and heretics round it, the Anglican Church is a loco, in the 
position of one of those early sects. This again I kept say- 
i n g_I think I wrote to Reble, "I am far more certain that 
the Anglican Church is in loco haereseos, than that the Roman 
corruptions are not developments." No one can maintain the 
Anglican Church from history, (whatever they may try to do 
on the ground of doctrine) and those who speak against my 
Essay as inconclusive, most of them, do not see its drift/ 

Rumour at this moment spoke of Henry Wilberforce as 
on the verge of taking the great step. Two letters of 
Newman's one a mere note earnestly pressed him on- 

'St. Wilfrid's: Sept- iptli, 1849. 

'My dearest Henry, I heard of you this morning here, 
where I had just come for a day or two, having been over- 
worked. I had gone to Bilston to attend the poor cholera 
patients, but found the scourge nearly over, and I was not 
wanted, so I came here. Father Ambrose and Father 
Minister are there still. They say that two thirds of the 
population would become Catholics if they had priests to 
take care of them. 

'But now I write about you, Carissime I have heard 
something about you this morning, which makes me say 
"Send for me, and I will come to you at once by return of 
post." Do not let anything stand between conviction and its 
legitimate consequence. Carissime, you must die some day 
or other. . . . Ever yours affectionately, 


' September 21, 1849, 

' Carissime, This may cross one of yours, but I can't 
help writing. 

'How can you delay? O my dearest H. W., may not this 
be a crisis in your eternal destiny? 

'Ever yours most affectionately, 


But the change did not come for some months. Newman's 
letters continued to be insistent. "There is no alternative 
between Catholicism and Infidelity to the clear thinker flee 
Babylon while you can/' he writes in one, with reference to 
William Froude's movement towards religious negation. 


And in another when the change appears to be simply a 
matter of time "0, the joy it will be to me to see you and 
embrace you as the Patriarch turned himself with yearning 
heart to his lost Son!" 

Early in 1850 Henry Wilberforce and his wife were both 

Henry Wilberforce had been so closely acquainted with 
Newman's own state of feeling throughout, that his hesi- 
tation had appeared to Newman to call for constant pressure 
to take the final step. With Mrs. Froude, on the con- 
trary, he felt that if she did join the Catholic Church she 
would find trials and difficulties arising from the change. 
He therefore wished her first to count the cost. He does 
not in his letters seem eager to urge her onwards so long 
as she feels satisfied with her present position. Yet he 
evidently fears, on the other hand, lest his own great step in 
1845 ma y have unsettled her, and she may find no peace 
until she realises that Catholicism is normally the only 
stable form of Christian faith. For an actual change of com- 
munion nevertheless he apparently did not feel sure that 
she was prepared. The wife of William Froude and the 
sister-in-law of J. A. Froude was naturally familiar with the 
idea of mental doubt, and Newman's letters to her touch this 
aspect of possible views on religion, which is quite absent 
from the letters to Henry Wilberforce. 

The following letters must suffice to illustrate the differ- 
ence of tone of which I speak and the careful toucL with 
which Newman handled the minds of his friends: 

'Mary Vale, Perry Bar: June 16, 1848. 

'My dear Mrs. Froude, I answer your kind and touching 
letter just received immediately. How could you suppose I do 
not feel the warmest attachment and the most affectionate 
thoughts towards you and yours? 

'And now first about myself, since you are kindly anxious 
about me. It is my handwriting that distresses you; but it 
has been so for years. I seem to have sprained some 
muscles. I can't put my finger on the place but I never 
write without some pain. And it does not seem that there 
is any help. 

' As to health, I never was better or so well. The only in- 
disposition is that I am always tired, but that I think is merely 


owing to the growth of years. As time goes on too, one's fea- 
tures grow more heavy. At least I feel it an effort to brighten 
up. Or rather, I believe those long years of anxiety have 
stamped themselves on my face and now that they are at an 
end, yet I cannot change what has become a physical effect. 

'And now you know all about me, as far as I am able, or 
can get myself, to talk of myself. I will but add that the 
Hand of God is most wonderfully on me, that I am full of 
blessing and privilege, that I never have had even the temp- 
tation for an instant to feel a misgiving about the great step 
I took in 1845, that the hollowness of High Churchism ^(or 
whatever it is called) is to me so very clear that it surprises 
me, (not that persons should not see it at once) but that 
any should not see it at last, and, also, I must add that I do 
not think it safe for any one who does see it, not to action his 
conviction of it at once. 

'Oh that I were near you, and could have a talk with 
y OU k u t then I should need great grace to know what to say 
to you. This is one thing that keeps me silent, it is, dear 
friend, because I don't know what to say to you. If I had 
more faith, I should doubtless know well enough ; I should then 
say, "Come to the Church, and you will find all you seek." 
I ham myself found all I seek. "I have all and abound" 
my every want has been supplied, and as it has in all^ persons, 
whom I know at all well, who have become Catholics, but 
still the fidget comes on me, " What if they fail? What if they 
go back? What if they find their faith tried? What if they 
relax into a lukewarm state? What if they do not fall into 
prudent and good hands?' 7 It is strange I should say so, 
when I have instances of the comfort and peace of those very 
persons for whom I feared on their conversions. 

'But I will tell you what I think on the whole, though you 
do not ask me, in two sentences; i. that it is the duty of 
those who feel themselves called towards the Church to obey 
it; 2. that they must expect trial, when in it, and think it 
only so much gain when they have it not. This last 
indeed is nothing more than the spirit moving, "when thou 
come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation." 

'I would not bring anyone into the Church on the ground 
which you put as against the Church of England, viz: that 
all hopes are failing. Not that I do not value, not that I do 
not now feel, the stimulus which comes from bright prospects, 
but that one ought not to come, if it can be helped, on such 
inferior grounds. Now this world is a world of trouble. 


You must come to the Church, not to avoid it, but to 
save your soul. If this is the motive, all is right. You 
cannot be disappointed, but the other motive is dangerous. 

'I was thinking of you this morning, when I said Mass. 
Oh that you were safe in the True Fold. I think you will be 
one day. You will then have the blessedness of seeing God 
face to face. You will have the blessedness of finding, 
when you enter a Church, a Treasure Unutterable, the 
Presence of the Eternal Word Incarnate, the Wisdom of the 
Father who, even when He had done His work, would not 
leave us, but rejoices still to humble Himself by abiding in 
places on earth, for our sakes, while He reigns not the less 
on the right hand of God. To know too that you are in the 
Communion of Saints, to know that you have cast your 
lot among all those Blessed Servants of God who are the 
choice fruit of His Passion, that you have their intercessions 
on high, that you may address them, and above all the 
Glorious Mother of God, what thoughts can be greater than 
these? And to feel yourself surrounded by all holy arms 
and defences, with the Sacraments week by week, with the 
Priests 7 Benedictions, with crucifixes and rosaries which have 
been blessed, with holy water, with places or with acts to 
which Indulgences have been attached, and the " whole 
Armour of God" and to know that, when you die, you will 
not be forgotten, that you will be sent out of the world with 
the holy unctions upon you, and will be followed with masses 
and prayers; to know in short that the Atonement of 
Christ is not a thing at a distance, or like the sun standing 
ever against us and separated off from us, but that we are 
surrounded by an atmosphere and are in a medium, through 
which His warmth and light flow in upon us on every side, 
what can one ask, what can one desire, more than this? 

'Yet I do not disguise that Catholicism is a different 
religion from Anglicanism. You must come to learn that 
religion which the Apostles introduced and which was 
in the world long before the Reformation was dreamed of, 
but a religiori not so easy and natural to you, or congenial, 
because you have been bred up in another from your youth. 

' Excuse all this, as you will, my dear Mrs. Froude, and 
excuse the rambling character of this whole letter, and 
believe me, Ever yours most affectionately, 


T.S. I should rejoice to see William at any time; but 
I am going to London soon/ 


'Mary Vale, Perry Bar: June 27, 1848. 

'My dear Mrs. Froude, One of the thoughts which most 
painfully weighed on my mind, when I began to see that I 
must be a Catholic, if not the most painful of all, was that I 
was unsettling many, who, having been without definite faith 
till I and others made them what is called Anglo-Catholics, 
were likely, on my confessing that to be a delusion which I had 
taught them, was a reality, instead of passing on with me to 
a second creed, to relapse into scepticism. . , . 

'But oh, my dear Mrs. Froude, what an awful state is 
that of doubt, if permitted, if acquiesced in, if habitual; 
considering that faith, implicit faith, is the fundamental grace 
of the Gospel, and condition of its benefits? The very 
notion of doubt is then only endurable, when a person is 
firmly resolved to embrace the Truth, whatever it be, at 
whatever cost, when once it is brought home to him, and 
immediately; praying the while that he may, as soon as 
possible, be brought to the knowledge of it. If you, my most 
dear Sister or Daughter, as you chose to let me call you, 
really can say in your heart, that you will submit to the 
Truth, though you cannot prove it, directly your reason tells 
you where it lies, I am comforted about you; but do search 
your conscience on this point. Are you quite sure you respond, 
as you should, to God's grace leading you on? Are you sure 
that you do not take " obedience/ 3 (to allude to the Sermon 
you speak of) instead of faith, when you should only take it 
as the way to faith? resting in it, instead of using it. ... 

'I wish you would consider whether you have a right 
notion how to gain faith. It is, we know, the Gift of God, 
but I am speaking of it as a human process and attained by 
human means. Faith then is not a conclusion from premisses, 
but the result of an act of the will, following upon a conviction 
that to believe is a duty. The simple question you have to 
ask yourself is, "Have I a conviction that I ought to accept 
the (Roman) Catholic Faith as God's word?" if not, at least, 
"do I tend to such a conviction?' 7 or "am I near upon it"? 
For directly you have a conviction that you ought to believe, 
reason has done its part, and what is wanted for faith] is, not 
proof, but mlL . . . We are answerable for what we" choose 
to believe; if we believe lightly, or if we are hard of belief, in 
either case we do wrong. With love to William, 

' Ever yours affectionately, 


Another group of letters belonging to this time has 
considerable importance those to Newman's Oxford friend 
Mr. John Moore Capes. And these, too, I think represent a 
mental effort far more congenial than the King William 
Street lectures. Not long after he had joined the Catholic 
Church Mr. Capes had founded the Catholic Review 
called the Rambler, of which incidental mention has been 
already made. The letters were occasioned by subjects 
discussed in the Review, on which Mr. Capes constantly con- 
sulted Newman. They include Newman's first suggestions 
on the subject which he regarded as so important in his 
later life, the necessity of accurate thought and expression 
among Catholics themselves in dealing with the great 
religious questions of the day. Although his work for the 
Oratory led him, as we have seen, to decline writing for the 
Rambler, he took a lively interest in the work it carried on. 
The Rambler was started in January 1848. W. G. Ward, 
Oakeley, and Richard Simpson were among the earliest con- 
tributors to its pages, and from the first it set to work on that 
very task of the development of Catholic thought in which 
Newman had such special sympathy. 

It likewise showed from the first a tendency towards in- 
considerateness and even offensiveness in its criticisms which 
Newman deprecated as injurious to success in its object. 
The existing Catholic Colleges were strongly criticised. The 
amour propre of English Catholics educated under the exist- 
ing system was offended by strictures which might have 
been accepted had they been accompanied by a due recog- 
nition of all that was best in that system; and there was, 
moreover, already an inclination in some of the Rambler 
writers to rash and startling speculation in matters in which 
scientific conjectures of the day touched the opinions of 
theologians. This again tended to prejudice the views they 
advocated rather than to recommend them. It confirmed the 
feeling of the old Catholics that the Oxford converts were a 
party and were indisposed to amalgamate in thought and 
feeling with themselves. 

Newman's letters show at once his value for the activity 
of mind and reality of treatment evinced by the articles, 
some anxiety at their tone, and some suspiciousness of 


Mr. Capes' speculations. Though declining Mr. Capes' request 
that he should be formal theological censor of the Review, 
he was informally consulted on much of its contents, and the 
correspondence drew from him some characteristic expres- 
sions of opinion. In one of the letters we find the first 
suggestion of what he afterwards carried out in ' Callista ' 
of a tale presenting an outline of history as to the action 
of Christianity on the educated world in the early centuries. 
The true nature of the evidence for Christianity a subject 
which occupied his mind through life is also touched in the 
correspondence. The feeling he had at Rome in 1846 re- 
appears, that Italian theologians insufficiently appreciated 
the necessity for a searching inquiry into the adequacy of 
methodical proofs of religion natural and revealed, in the 
precise form found in the ordinary text-books. The equip- 
ment of an army may become very inadequate if it is not 
frequently subjected to the actual tests it will have to under- 
go in time of war; and theologians unfamiliar with the 
minds of unbelievers might be ineffective in polemic. While 
the ability of the theologians he had known in Rome was 
beyond doubt, and the general outlines of their treatment 
were inherited from deep thinkers., they did in his opinion set 
forth arguments as conclusive which in reality were not so. 
The typical Italian professor of theology often failed to realise 
the actual state of mind of the man who was to be convinced 
the infidel in the case of the proofs of Christianity, the 
heretic in the case of distinctively Catholic polemic. These 
matters are referred to in the letters to Mr. Capes of 1847 and 
1850, which show also the movement of his thought on other 
subjects. The following are some extracts: 

'Your remarks on image-worship are very good and 
correct. The contrast of doctrine and practice there is 
but part of one great rule. The Church gives the rhythm 
and meaning to every feeling and thought of her children, 
though they do not recognise it as their own, e.g. the certainty 
of faith is indefinitely greater than mathematical but who 
realises this in his experience? 

'Your new number is a very good one, and the sale 
ought to increase, as it does. The defence of the scandalous 
paper on Catholic Education is very much to the purpose, 


and I should trust would soothe people but I don't think 
you can* quite get over it. You will be sure to have done 
good by mooting the subject; and all Catholics ought, 
as many will, to be obliged to you but still you cannot 
get over the whole difficulty, because your original article 
had the tone of a hostile attack, instead of having a double 
dose of butter to introduce an unpleasant subject. . . . 
However never mind all this; the Rambler is doing a great 
deal of good, and we cannot do good without giving offence 
and incurring criticism.' 

'The Oratory, 40 Alcester St.: Feb. 14, 1849. 

'As for putting anything about us into the Rambler, 
"story, heav'n bless you, I have none to tell, sir." In time 
we shall, please heaven, do something but at present it 
is all leaves and flowers, not fruit. Last Sunday the Police- 
man said he thought there were between 600 and 700 people 
at the evening sermon and boys and girls flow in for 
instructions as herrings in the season. But it is not enough 
to catch your fish; you must throw the bad away. I mean 
until we sift them, and get one set of people at confession, 
and another regular candidates for instruction and reception, 
we have done nothing. We have every promise of this, but 
even on our part nothing is in order. The Confessionals 
hardly in position, and our catechists not at their posts. 3 

'February 28th, 1849. 

'I heartily wish I could promise you a series like the 
Church of the Fathers. But when is it to be? If you can 
use my name honestly and without pledging me, I should 
be glad. As to the middle ages, I could not go on to them 
What I should like would be to bring out the %9o$ of the 
Heathen from St. Paul's day down to St. Gregory, when 
under the process, or in sight of the phenomenon, of 
conversion; what conversion was in those times, and what 
the position of a Christian in that world of sin, what the 
sophistries of philosophy viewed as realities influencing men. 
But besides the great difficulty of finding time, I don't think 
I could do it from History. I despair of finding facts 
enough as if an imaginary tale could alone embody the 
conclusions to which existing facts lead. If you can suggest 
anything, let me know. Dalgairns is so busy, he declares he 
will only write for tin. I have spoken to the other two men, 
and shall see Hutchison to-morrow, and will have a talk 
with him. 7 


'December 2nd, '49. 

'As to what you say about eternal punishment, it is to 
me, as to most men, the great crux in the Christian system 
as contemplated by the human mind. It is to me what the 
doctrine of predestination is to Ward. But then is there 
to be no trial of faith? The doctrine of the Holy Trinity, 
transubstantiation, grace, nay the Incarnation (for it is 
against no attribute) are to me no trial. Am I to have none? 
Reason is able to approve of much is it to approve of all? 
Another consideration is our utter ignorance of what is 
meant by eternity it is not infinite time. Time implies a 
process it involves the connection and action of one portion 
upon another if eternity be an eternal now, eternal punish- 
ment is the fact that a person is in suffering ; he suffers to-day 
and to-morrow and so on for ever but not in a continuation 
all is complete in every time there is no memory, no anticipa- 
tion, no growth of intensity from succession. I will not say I 
am right in so considering it, for I have not consulted divines 
(and certainly popular views, sermons, etc., are against me, 
for in them the growth of pain from succession is expressly in- 
sisted on), but if I le right, then the question is merely, should 
a soul suffer, should sin be punished, which few will deny. 

'As to yourself, you are very painfully situated you have 
to read a vast number of infidel books, and to throw yourself 
into the state of mind of infidels, and this necessarily exposes 
you to the temptation, 

'I would add, it is the turning point between Christianity and 
pantheism, it is the critical doctrine you can't get rid of it it 
is the very characteristic of Christianity. We must therefore 
look matters in the face. Is it more improbable that eternal 
punishment should be true, or that there should be no God; 
for if there be a God, there is eternal punishment, (a posteriori). 

'As to the subject on which you would have me write, it 
is a noble one but one can no more command a set of lectures 
on it than raise spirits from the vasty deep. I feel more and 
more, and have for years, how little one's mind is in one's 
own power. Difficulties of years are sometimes overcome 
in a moment yet one cannot foresee the time. It is very 
mysterious, and brings before one the great Christian truth 
that man in puris naturalilm is a most imperfect being, and 
depends on principles and powers external to him for the 
power of thinking and acting. 

'What I want to do, and can't, and it falls into your 
subject, is to construct a positive argument for Catholicism. 


The negative is the most powerful " Since there must be one 
true religion, it can be none other than this 7 ' but the fault of 
this is that it involves what many people call scepticism a 
cutting away everything else but Catholicism showing the 
difficulties of such portions of truth as Protestantism contains, 
etc. Hence what I have written (e.g. difficulties of the Canon) 
has been much objected to. Now as to positive proof, I can only 
rest the argument on antecedent probabilities or verisimilia 
which are to my mind most powerful, (and practically suf- 
ficient, for they are in fact the Notes of the Church,) but they 
seem argumentatively imperfect; and I would give much to be 
able to strike out something but I feel myself quite helpless/ 

'December 2nd, '49. 

'I have not quite got hold of your proposed subject. The 
great argument of the Atheist is this "The Creator of 
the World is either wanting in love or power therefore He 
is not God, or there is no God." Now Christianity does not 
touch this argument. It leaves it where it was, or adds 
weight to it. You do not mean me then to show how 
Christianity explains the riddle. The question simply is 
how it meets it. But when it is a question of meeting, it is 
a question of degrees. The point then is what degree of 
skilful meeting, in a religion, is sufficient to prove it divine.' 

"The Oratory, Birmingham: Dec. 8th, 1849. 

'Thank you for your valuable letter. The subject, 
which you have named, jumps with much I have been 
thinking of, especially the introductory lectures on the 
Nature of the Proof but I fear these would swell into a 
whole (uninteresting) set. Again, such a subject requires 
very delicate treatment. Your Italian divines, whom I 
sincerely wish to follow in dogmatics, are not in my mind 
the best of polemics now "The proof of Christianity" 
is just the point on which polemics and dogmatics meet as 
on common ground. It is in the province of both, and I 
cannot altogether stand the Italian treatment of it, unless 
I mistake their words and they mine. They know nothing 
at all of heretics as realities they live, at least in Rome, in 
a place whose boast is that it has never given birth to heresy, 
and they think proofs ought to be convincing which in fact 
are not. Hence they are accustomed to speak of the 
argument for Catholicism as a demonstration, and to see 
no force in objections to it and to admit no perplexity of 
intellect which is not directly and immediately wilful. This at 


least is their tendency in fact, even if I overstate their theory. 
They have not a dream what England is, and what is the 
power of fascination which the Anglican Church (e.g.) exerts 
in the case of many minds. F, Passaglia understood it a 
little better when he got to Westminster Abbey, and declared 
the chanting to be a great "scandalo"; and I suspect he 
was cowed by the vision of Oxford. At present they will 
not abide in Italy the use of terms which, if not the ideas 
also contained in them, are received with us. E.g. when 
you in your Papers on "Four Years' Experience" speak of 
the argument for Catholicism being "the greater probability," 
(do you not?) you say what would scandalise an Italian, 
and would be put down to my school. At least one Jesuit 
attacked me as a probabilist in doctrine, though I am not 
conscious of dreaming of being one; and certainly I should 
be afraid that I might say things which, though distinctly 
contained in de Lugo, are contrary to the tone of this day. 
I really do not think I differ in idea, and I have altered my 
language in consequence, but I don't feel clear that I should 
not offend those whom I wish to be on good terms with. 
As to you, I distinctly think you have expressed yourself 
incautiously, unless I have misunderstood you but what 
/ think of you, others may think of me. At all events, it 
would take time, and thought, to write carefully on such a 
subject, and I don't think I could do it by Lent. 

'I should like to know some time argumentatively why my 
suggestion about eternity having no succession produces no alle- 
viation of your difficulty I wish to know it as a fact, to guide me 
in the use of it. It tends to destroy the difficulty in my own case. 

'I could not make out whether you said my Sermons 
were "selling" or "telling" I wish them to "tell," but I 
am very much more interested, I must own, in the sale. 3 

1 Oratory, Birmingham: Jan. 2 7th, 1850. 

As to what you said some time back about eternal 
punishment I said nothing in answer, because I simply 
wished to hear what your view was of my argument. I did 
not agree with your answer (if you wish to know, as you 
seem to do). In denying that "eternity was without 
duration," you seem to me denying, not an assumption of 
mine, as you view it, but the common voice of all nations. 
Even the poet speaks of an "eternal now." And by 
saying that what did relieve you was the mystery of God's 
ante-eternity, you seem taking up yourself my very argument 


for the mysteriousness of it shows that we don't know 
what eternity is and if our notion is so defective as to make 
us think the divine a parte ante beyond Divine Omnipotence, 
that same defect may be the cause of eternal pain seeming to 
contradict the Divine All-mercifulness. A common person's 
notion of flannel is that it is something that " keeps us 
warm." With this notion it is a sheer absurdity or mystery 
to suppose that it is wrapt round ice to keep it from melting. 
Again I could not convince my clerk at St. Mary's that the 
thick moisture on the pavement on a thaw was not a proof 
that the Church was really damp. We have far less correct 
ideas of eternity than of such material matters. 

'The passage in "Four Years' Experience" is "To tell 
me I was enslaving my reason, etc., by embracing the more 
probable of two momentous alternatives," etc., p. 10. Now, 
since the proof on which we believe must be a certain proof, 
the above is sound to me only on the hypothesis that in the 
case supposed it be true that "It is certain that the more 
probable alternative is the true one"; which has to be proved, 
for it is not a general truth or an axiom. But the words on 
the surface mean no more than this, that "it is not certain 
that Catholicism is true,, only more probable than that it is 
not" and this I conceive is an unsound position.' 

'St. Wilfrid's: September i6th, 1850. 

1 Thank you for F. Perrone, which I will return. It relieves 
me to find that to deny the universality of the deluge is not even 
temerarious. At the same time, the time is not come for con- 
fidence about any theory. The "Spiritus Dei" may mean 
electro-magnetism ten years hence, then the vital principle, 
and at the end of 50 years "The Spirit of God" as of old.' 

'Oratory, Birmingham: November i4th, 1850. 

'My criticism on these scientific articles was not on the 
allowableness of their statements, but the advisableness. 
We ought not to theorise the teaching of Moses till phi- 
losophers have demonstrated their theories of physics. If 
"the Spirit of God" is gas in 1850, it may be electro- 
magnetism in 1860.' 

One other letter may be added belonging to the following 
year, although it somewhat forestalls the order of our 
narrative. It contains the first incidental reference to a 
matter on which Newman wrote much later on namely, the 
importance of the schools of theological thought in the past, 
of their flourishing existence, of their freedom and variety, and 


the correlative importance of the writings of the 'doctors of 
the Church/ for the intellectual health of the Christian com- 
munity in the ages in which they lived and wrote. The 
doctors of the Church and not the Popes had in the past given 
the lead to the Catholic theological intellect in its inquiries. 
'It is individuals and not the Holy See that have taken the 
initiative and given the lead to the Catholic mind in theo- 
logical inquiry/ he wrote in a famous passage in the 
'Apologia/ And it was the greatest of those individuals who 
were afterwards known as Doctors of the Church. The pro- 
cess of active discussion and thought in the Catholic schools 
reached its height in the middle ages the days of the school- 
men of the thirteenth century. The events accompany- 
ing the Reformation somewhat diminished the freedom of 
scholastic debate, and concentrated attention on the polemic 
against Protestantism. Yet such names as Petavius, Suarez, 
and de Lugo remind us that theological schools still long 
remained a great power to reckon with. The French Revolu- 
tion had inflicted a crashing blow on the theological schools. 
And with their comparative disappearance the rdk of ' Doctor 
of the Church' seemed almost to be in abeyance. c Religion 
is never in greater danger/ Newman wrote, 'than when in 
consequence of national or international troubles the schools 
of theology have broken up or ceased to be.' The sense of 
the loss sustained by the Church in the destruction of the 
theological schools grew on Newman, as we shall see, in the 
course of time. It is first referred to, though only briefly, 
in the following letter written to Mr. Capes on the advantages 
and disadvantages for the Church of a state of persecution: 

'April 2oth, 1851, 

'What does the Church gain by a state of persecution? 
an elevation in the tone of those who remain firm? I doubt 
it as a whole. Recollect the scandals among the Confessors 
in St. Cyprian's time and the low tone among us now. And 
great as the sanctity of the Martyrs is, I suppose the sanctity 
of^St. Ignatius and St. Theresa, subjects of the most Catholic 
King of Spain, may be compared to it. Then again, in 
times when religion is established, you have schools of all 
sorts, of doctrine, of ritual, of antiquities, and histories 
it is the age of doctors who are formed by the very 
heresies which then germinate. Think on the contrary of 


the miserable state of the Church 1780 to 1830, during the 
temporal misfortunes of the Holy See, through which we 
have not yet emerged at this moment. Where are our 
schools of theology? a scattered and persecuted Jesuit school 
one at Louvain some ghosts of a short-lived birth at 
Munich hardly a theologian at Rome. And recollect 
independence and persecution go together the State must 
either be our friend or our enemy. Now, consider the con- 
fusion everything is thrown into, by the Pope's absence from 
Rome the destruction of records the dispersion of libraries 
the suspension of the Sacred Congregations think of 
Pope Pius VII. shut up from the Church for five years. 
What is to put against all this? You cannot pick and 
choose you cannot have all the advantages of freedom and 
none of the disadvantages of being outlawed. You may say 
that we are in the worst state possible now, being neither 
one thing nor the other the Pope bound to the world 
without corresponding benefits but I am not defending 
any view, I am only anxious that things should be calmly 
looked at.' 


THE "brilliant irony of the King William Street lectures 
delighted such intellectual critics as Mr. Button. The 
lectures also attracted the Broad Church members of the 
Establishment, who attended in considerable numbers. 
They rejoiced the heart of that born controversialist, 
Dr. Wiseman, who sat listening to them, vested in a cope, 
swaying to and fro, his ruddy face beaming with delight as 
the war-dance of the Anglican episcopate was described by 
the lecturer. Conversions to the Church immediately followed 
notable among them being those of Sir George Bowyer 
and Mr. T. W. Allies, Rome conferred on Father Newman 
an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. 

The London Oratorians were rapidly becoming subjects 
of general remark, as they daily paced the streets in their 
habits. 1 The English ' Papists' seemed to their country- 
men to be holding their heads high. Dr. Wiseman and 
the sanguine converts talked freely about the ( conversion 
of England.' Punch advertised their happy unclouded 
confidence to the public week after week, by caricatures of 
the l Romanists' and burlesques of their real and imaginary 
doings. The Oratorians were depicted in the cartoons 
arrayed in cassocks and albs and chasubles and copes, and 
so were the 'Puseyites,' who were regarded as their 
secret friends and as recruits for the Roman army. The 
attitude of the Catholics was not pleasing to the Anglican 
hierarchy. And displeasure was gradually penetrating into 
the slow mind of John Bull himself, who had at first viewed 

1 In the first enthusiasm attending the foundation of the Oratory, all the 
fathers at Birmingham as well as in London walked abroad in their cassocks, and 
on one occasion a no-popery zealot upset a sack of flour on Newman himself. 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 253 

the show from the stalls as a rather apathetic spectator, 
but who had, deep down in him, a hatred of Popery which 
was kept inactive mainly through its accompanying contempt. 
Those who could read the signs of the times began to grow 
conscious of a sullen anger rising and deepening among their 
countrymen something akin to caste feeling or race feeling, 
which could be very dangerous and indiscriminate in its 
display if it were thoroughly awakened. Wiseman himself, 
full of schemes for the future, living now almost entirely among 
Catholics, and not, as of old, mixing much with general 
society, saw nothing of this. His Celtic imagination pictured 
the new Catholic hierarchy which was promised for this very 
year as adding immense eclat to the victories of Rome. 
The ancient Church was to assert triumphantly the now 
undeniable failure of the Established Church to represent 
the Catholic religion in England. The High Church move- 
ment was utterly defeated. The new hierarchy was to claim 
a Roman victory* 

There was a momentary pause in his plans a threat of 
bitter disappointment. For a moment the old priests such 
men as Mr. Wilds and Dr. Maguire succeeded in alarming 
Rome. They had the traditions of the days of persecution, 
and dreaded the consequences of Wiseman's 'go ahead' 
policy and of his public advertisement of Catholic claims. 
Wiseman was unpopular with them, and they asked for 
his removal from London, which must mean from England. 
He was actually summoned to Rome in July 1850, and 
informed that he was to remain there for good, with the 
Cardinal's hat as a reward for past services 'in golden 
fetters/ as he expressed it. Less enterprising and more 
prudent spirits were to take charge of the new hierarchy, 
men who remembered the proverb, Chi va piano va sano. 
But other influences prevailed in Rome at the very last 
moment after Wiseman had actually started on his journey. 
Those Englishmen who were sanguine that Rome was 
on the eve of great victories in their own country re- 
presented urgently to the Vatican that the withdrawal of 
Wiseman meant the complete arrest of the campaign for 
there was no one else to take the lead. 

The English public in general was not otherwise than 


pleased at the elevation of Wiseman to the Cardinalate, news 
of which had been given out before he left England for 
Italy in August. They viewed it as a purely Roman honour, 
to be accompanied by residence in Rome. It was honour 
done to a distinguished English scholar by a foreign Court. 
The papers treated it sympathetically. Wiseman was all the 
more off his guard. His imagination was already fired by 
the events of 1845. The Oxford leaders had surrendered to 
him and had enlisted under his banner among the long- 
despised English 'Papists.' What victories might not this 
portend for the future? To his impressionable nature the 
position of Cardinal, coupled with the leadership at such a 
moment of the English Catholics, was almost a dizzy emi- 
nence. Perhaps with his training and his temperament and 
antecedents no greater position could be imagined. The tone 
of triumph was undisguised when he wrote the famous Pastoral 
letter, 'from out the Flaminian gate' of Rome, on October 7, 
announcing the new hierarchy and the details of its con- 
stitution. This was for the world at large the climax of the 
policy of constant boasting, constant assertion of victory actual 
and prospective for the Catholics of England. The language 
of the Pastoral letter appeared to be the exultant announce- 
ment of a Roman triumph even a Roman conquest. A 
casual glance at the document brought before the British 
householder such passages as these: 'till such time as the 
Holy See shall think fit otherwise to provide, we govern 
and shall continue to govern the counties of Middlesex, Hert- 
ford and Essex as ordinary thereof, and those of Surrey, 
Sussex, Berkshire and Hampshire with the islands annexed 
as administrators with ordinary powers'; and again: 'The 
great work is complete. Catholic England has been re- 
stored to its orbit in the ecclesiastical firmament . . . truly 
this is a day of joy and exultation of spirit.' Such a sentence 
as this was Cardinal Wiseman's expression of his own simple 
undisguised satisfaction. It was intended for the ears of the 
Catholic congregations to which it was to be read aloud in 
church. But the Press got hold of the Pastoral, and it was 
also read in the drawing-rooms and clubs, the vicarages and 
Bishops' palaces, which John Bull in his various capacities 
frequented. It employed, as I have said, language suggesting 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 255 

a great triumph! 'And over whom?' men asked. Over the 
people of England. Over the Established Church. Over 
the whole Protestant land which Rome once more claimed 
to 'govern/ True these were but words, not deeds, but 
they seemed insulting words when read by Englishmen, 
already since 1845 on tlie ver e of exasperation. A 
storm broke of which the details have often been told. 
Lord John Russell's famous letter to the Bishop of Durham 
was written on November 4 the eve of Guy Fawkes. In- 
dignation meetings followed all over the country. Cardinal 
Wiseman and the Pope were burned everywhere in effigy. 
'Down with Popery/ 'Down with tyranny/ was placarded 
in the streets of the country towns. 1 

Priests and their congregations were hooted. The Lord 
Chancellor, at the Mansion House dinner of November 9, 
quoted amid thunders of applause Shakespeare's lines: 

'Under our feet we'll stamp thy Cardinal's hat 
In spite of Pope or dignities of Church.' 

If Wiseman had shown want of judgment in the Flaminian- 
gate letter, he made amends by a remarkable display of 
courage, tact, and energy on his return on November n. 
He was incessant in representations to the Government and 
on the platform all marked by firmness, moderation, and 
argumentative and rhetorical ability. He made the very 
most of a logical position which was quite unanswerable 
for no act of aggression had been committed. The rights of 

1 The Press was full of pasquinades and indignant protests. The following 
expression of passionate Protestant zeal may be given as a type of many more: 

' Harlot of Rome ! and dost thou come 

With bland demeanour now; 
The bridal smile upon thy lips, 
The flush upon thy brow ? 

1 The cup of sorcery in thy hand, 

Still in the same array 
As when our fathers in their wrath, 
Dashed it and thee away ? 

'No! by the memory of the saints, 

Who died beneath thy hand, 
Thou shalt not dare to claim as thine 
One foot of English land.' 

The author of these lines, published in the Christian Times, January 7, 1851, 
was Rev. Mr. Aytoun. 


the Established Church and Crown had been carefully 
respected and the title of no Church of England See was 
claimed for the Catholics. The sole cause of offence was that 
language suitable to the feelings and views of Catholics used 
in a Pastoral letter a document ordinarily read inside the 
churches to an audience exclusively Catholic had been pub- 
lished in the papers and read as though it had been meant for 
the eyes and ears of the average Protestant Englishman. 
It was as though a man overheard words used of himself, 
absolutely legitimate in themselves, yet very offensive if 
uttered in his presence. Wiseman's 'Appeal to the English 
People' appeared in extenso in five daily papers on Novem- 
ber 20. It occupied six and a half columns of the Times in 
small type and the Times then sold 40,000 copies a day. 
No copy of any paper in which it appeared was to be bought 
by four o'clock in the afternoon. The 'appeal 7 had an im- 
mediate effect in staying the storm, and the Press in many 
instances changed its tone forthwith. Newman was enthu- 
siastic in his appreciation of Wiseman's power and resource. 
'He is made for the world,' Newman wrote to Sir George 
Bowyer in January 1851, 'and he rises with the occasion. 
Highly as I put his gifts, I was not prepared for such a dis- 
play of vigour, power, judgment, sustained energy as the last 
two months have brought. I heard a dear friend of his say 
before he got to England that the news of the opposition 
would kill him. How he has been out. It is the event of 
the time. In my own remembrance there has been nothing 
like it.' 

The bitter feelings aroused by the agitation proved trying 
for recent converts, at whom old friends looked askance. 
Newman's own feelings at the outset of the disturbance were 
shown in a letter of sympathy written in November to the 
late Lord Denbigh then Lord Feilding who had had his 
share of trial in his new Communion: 

: Be of good cheer, my dear Lord; the first months of a 
convert's life, though filled with joy of their own, have a 
pain and dreariness of their own too. We feel the latter 
when nature overcomes grace the former when grace 
triumphs over nature. But no one made a sacrifice without 
effect. God does not forget what we do for Him and what- 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 257 

ever trouble you may have now, it will be repaid to you a 
hundred fold. As to this hubbub, I was anxious just at 
first, when indeed you were here but I do not see what can 
come of it, except indeed inconvenience to individuals, and 
black looks from friends and strangers. We must take it 
coolly, and leave the British Lion to find he cannot touch us. 
If he put some of us in prison, we should but gain by it, 
and I suspect his keepers are too sharp-sighted for that, 
whatever he is.' 

In December he writes to another friend, Mrs. Wood: 

c I don't agree with you at being troubled at the present 
row. It is always well to know things as they are. The 
row has not unsettled a single Catholic or Catholicizing 
Anglican rather it has converted, and is converting, many. 
It has but brought out what all sober people knew, though 
one is apt to forget it, that the English people is not 
Catholicly-minded. Many foreigners, many old Catholics, 
have thought they were. I dislike our smoothing over the 
nation's aversion to our doctrines, just as I dislike smoothing 
over those doctrines themselves. The real misery is the 
trouble it has introduced into families, the private persecu- 
tions, the alienation of friends, and the bitterness of feeling 
which the commotion has caused, but all this will turn to 
good. In like manner, they may insult us in Parliament, 
but I don't see how any Act they pass can hurt us,' 

Wiseman's immediate work in stemming the tide of 
aggressive bigotry was done in the first three months suc- 
ceeding his return from Rome. It was then Newman's turn 
to begin. But while in denouncing the unfairness of the 
popular attack on his co-religionists, he was entirely with 
Wiseman, he had already seen enough of the Catholic or- 
ganisation in England to form somewhat different opinions 
on other questions involved. And he was not in complete 
sympathy with the Cardinal's constructive programme. He 
had already deprecated in his letters to Faber the policy of un- 
necessary advertisement akin to boasting, and the proclaiming 
of supposed triumphs out of all proportion to facts and realities. 
This feeling henceforth steadily deepened in his mind. He 
seems from his letters to have regarded the institution of the 
new hierarchy as part of the movement associated with the 
name of Augustus Welby Pugin. He viewed it as a matter 



rather of external dignity than of practical utility. He 
desired more work and less show. He had already, in 
deference to Wiseman's wishes, pointed out in his lectures 
at King William Street how vulnerable was the position 
of the Anglican Church regarded as the permanent home of 
those Tractarians who believed in her as part of the Church 
Catholic: and he did not think it wise to go further in 
criticising her. Indeed, it is possible that he had, in some 
of the King William Street lectures, under the influence of 
the younger Oratorians, adopted a somewhat more aggressive 
tone than his maturer judgment approved. 

He did not wish to weaken the hold of the Church of 
England on the masses. The Established Church was 
in his eyes a great power in English society for good 
for religion and against the growth of infidelity. The 
'conversion of England' was, moreover, not a practical 
prospect. To weaken the Establishment was to damage a 
bulwark of religion, while Catholics had as yet no adequate 
force to supply in its place. It was true enough that the 
Bishops and clergymen up and down the country had used 
most violent and unjustifiable language against Catholicism. 
But Newman's more normal policy was to be above cheap 
retort, to consider solely the practical interests of religion. 
From his letters at this time we may gather that he would 
have been glad rather than sorry if the new hierarchy had 
been abandoned, and improved practical organisation among 
English Catholics had taken its place. He had some 
sympathy with the old priests such men as his friend 
Mr. Wilds who disliked the hierarchy and felt that it was 
being, as it were, run up hastily, without careful planning, 
cheaply, without adequate resources, and was likely to 
displace much that was well tried and successful in the 
existing organisation. It was too personal, Dr. Wiseman 
being the sole inspirer and executant of the scheme. 
The policy Newman favoured was, to let English Catholics 
grow stronger in reality in organisation, education, and 
influence lying low so far as public display was con- 
cerned. Let Catholics refrain from weakening the Church 
of England, he urged, while English society remained what it 
was at that time. He rather welcomed the possibility of active 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 259 

persecution, which would bring the Catholics face to face with 
stern facts. "The Bishop,' he wrote to Henry Wilberforce, 
' seems desirous to be put in prison. I should not be sorry 
for it. It would be sure to do us good.' 

This general view is outlined plainly in his correspondence 
with Mr. Capes, who consulted him at this time on some 
lectures he proposed to give in defence of Catholics against 
the onslaught of the 'aggression' agitation. Newman was 
the more interested in the lectures as he was anxious for 
laymen to come forward on such occasions. One prelate 
objected to Mr. Capes' scheme. 'He has a horror of laymen/ 
Newman wrote, 'and I am sure they may be made in this 
day the strength of the Church.' Cardinal Wiseman, however, 
took Mr. Capes' side, and the lectures were delivered. Mr. 
Capes spoke at first of attacking the Church of England, and 
Newman expressed his dissenjt from his programme: 

'In Vigil N. Dom. 1850. 

c My dear Capes, I don't look on the Church of England 
as important in contrast to Dissent, but as a bulwark against 
infidelity, which Dissent cannot be. Were the Church of 
England to fall Methodism might remain awhile. I can't 
tell, for I don't know it but surely, on the whole, the 
various denominations exist under the shadow of the 
Establishment, out of which they spring, and, did it go, 
would go too: i.e. they would lose their organisation, and 
whatever faint intellectual basis they have at present. 
Infidelity would take possession of the bulk of the men, and 
the women, so they had something to worship, would not care 
whether it was an unknown tongue, or a book of Mormon, 
or a pudding, sleeve gown. Infidel literature would be the 
fashion, and there would be a sort of fanatical contempt and 
hatred of all profession of belief in a definite revelation. 

'Perhaps it is absurd so talking, for the Established 
Church could not fall without a revolution and, while it 
exists in any shape, it so far forth witnesses to a dogmatic 
and ritual religion, i.e. a revelation but, in proportion as it 
is liberalized, it lets in infidelity upon the country, for there 
is nothing else to stand against infidelity. I can as little 
triumph then in the decline and fall of the Establishment 
as take part in the emancipation of the Jews I cannot, till 
the Catholic Church is strong enough to take its place. I 
don't see that this is inconsistent with my laughing at it, as 


in my Lectures or Loss and Gain, for such ridicule only dispar- 
ages it in the eyes of Puseyites who ought to leave it, not in 
those of Erastians and Establishmentarians, who constitute its 
strength. Is this a refinement? I mean, I don't think any- 
thing I have written would tend even to make men such as Lord 
John or Sir R. Peel give up the Church of England. . . . 

'Ever yours affectionately, 

J. H. N. 

'P.S. Thanks for your news Manning is with Hope at 
Abbotsf ord What does this mean? ' 

On February 9 he again deprecates attacking the 
Establishment in any lectures on the subject of the hour: 

C I still shrink from taking up your line of attacking the 
Church of England. I ask " could we supply the place of it 
and all sects?" See, we have not Priests enough for our 
own body how much less for England! Besides, I think 
our game is not to return evil for evil, now that the parsons 
have attacked us so furiously/ 

Mr. Capes gave full consideration to Newman's views. 
His lectures began and proved a success. They called forth 
another letter in which Newman developed his own apprecia- 
tion of the situation: 

'The Oratory, Birmingham: Feb. 18, 1851. 

My dear Capes, I am glad to hear so good a beginning 
of your lectures. Depend on it you are in the right train, 
though not a member of the Hierarchy. Preaching, con- 
fession, publishing, no bill can touch, and these are our 
proper weapons. The Bill only touches Puginism and its 
offshoots. We are not ripe ourselves for a Hierarchy. Now 
they have one they can't fill up the Sees, positively can't. 
Don't repeat all this but it really is a question whether one 
should not look on it as a means of getting us out of a 
scrape that this Bill is passed. We want Seminaries far 
more than Sees. We want education, mew, combination, 
organisation. I don't see the lie of things down here, but 
I am really inclined to think our game is to turn black, silent, 
and sulky; to suspend the use of those titles which the 
Bishops cannot really lose to appoint Vicars General, 
locum-tenentes, to the sees not filled up and to make the 
excuse of this persecution for getting up a great organization, 
going round to the towns giving lectures, or making speeches, 
none but Catholics being admitted to speak, starting a paper, 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 261 

a review, &c. The great difficulty of this plan would be the 
Cardinal's status, would it not? 

'The other plan would be the bold one of all the Bishops 
of the three kingdoms meeting, and publicly declaring they 
would not obey the Law. Then they must be prepared to 
carry this out by submitting to fine, imprisonment, or even 
transportation, and must have a prospect of carrying the 
public opinion of Catholics with them. . . . 

' Moreover, I think certain acts of retaliation should be 
practised, unless they looked mean I mean, if we may not 
call our Bishops by their titles, our only mode of signifying 
and intimating our secret profession, is to speak of Dr. Sumner, 
Dr. Blomfield, never calling them Bishops (at the utmost, 
Dr. Sumner of the House of Lords), &c., &c. 

'As to the Establishment, what I have written in my 
Lectures is addressed to the educated men. The more we 
can weaken its hold upon them, the better. But this does not 
directly weaken its authority on the masses nor does it in- 
volve any practical measure of assault upon it. I thought you 
were proposing a crusade against the Establishment now, I 
think, you must not do so, till you have something to give 
instead. As far as the people are concerned, our line is not 
to attack the Church of England, which is low game, but to 
remove prejudices against ourselves, as you are doing at 
present in your Lectures. Ever yours affectionately, 


'P.S. Are you constituted as a Committee to advise the 
Bishops? I wish you were. Do they ever ask advice? How 
many country gentlemen, on whose munificence the Sees were 
founded, have a claim ! Do you think they were consulted on 
the subject of the Hierarchy? ' . . . 

Mr. Capes' Lectures were suspended for the moment 
owing to the lecturer's indisposition. Newman's mind was 
hard at work on the whole subject and caught fire. What 
was the best plan of action for Catholics through the country? 
Already he felt how unsatisfactory it was to leave all initiation 
in the hands of the hierarchy. Episcopal sanction indeed was 
essential: more than this was a fetter, and might take the life 
out of the movement. His mind went back to the ' Tracts 
for the Times' and the great work done by a handful of men, 
all young and keen, none in official position. In a letter of 
February 21 we see his thought aglow on the whole prospect: 


'The Oratory, Birmingham: Feby. 21, 1851. 

'My dear Capes, I am very sorry to hear of your indis- 
positionyou must get well for the good of the Church. 
Those who have a mew, have indefinite power over those who 
have none. You say too there are good materials among 
the younger men of all classes. I dare say it may be in 
the event advisable for our Bishops to do nothing but for that 
reason, if for no other, the laity should stir. I like the article 
on "How shall we meet &c.?" though when I like a thing I 
always fear it is imprudent and violent. 

C I do think you should get a set of fellows who will devote 
themselves to the cause of the Church. Let it be their 
recreation as geology or ecclesiology might be, while it is 
their work. Would the " committee for supplying members 
with information" furnish such? Men do with a special 
gusto what they do themselves it is an outlet for private 
judgment. I do wish you could do it it is a great object. 
Cannot you name some half dozen or more? It should be 
quite voluntary and informal at first (only with the secret 
sanction of the Cardinal and Dr. Ullathorne). If I can do 
anything in getting them to approve of it command me. 

'Ward, I suppose ; would not work with other men or 
lead them? Is there no old Catholic of sufficient calibre to 
begin? I would throw over all but energetic men. This 
you could not do, if the Bishops' names were openly given 
to it, for they would offend respectable or noble nobodies if 
they did not include them, but if it was voluntary, the choice 
would be your own. 

'Why should not half a dozen meet and consecrate their 
purpose by a religious act? their object being to stir up their 
brethren on the duty of maintaining and impressing on the 
people of England the spiritual independence of the Church, 
as a kingdom not of this world? or take a larger object, not 
to the exclusion of this, viz. of bringing before the laity 
the position of the Church in England and the method of 
defending it (which last clause brings in your Lectures and 
all controversial matter whatever). 

'If you' could get two or three good speakers, you could 
have public meetings in the principal towns. I know this 
could not be done without a vast deal of spirit, but surely 
you might find some young men who would carry it out. 
We were about thirty in age, when we began the Tracts, 
have you none of that age? only they must not speak treason. 
In particular localities, you might get great assistance for a 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 263 

meeting e.g. I suppose I could get H. Wilberforce to speak 
here, if there was a meeting. The Oratory ought to have 
nothing to do with politics and I would not take any very 
ecclesiastical subject but Father Gordon and I would, I 
dare say, do something, if a sort of Club were formed here 
though we could not, with our engagements., dream of 
managing it. But indeed, I should like (as you say) the 
immediate object of resistance to the Bill to drop, but the 
occasion to be seized for instructing the young Catholic mind 
in all Catholic matters. Gradually it would form into 
shape each club or association would take a Patron Saint. 

f l am throwing things out as they occur to me so you 
must take them only as stimulants to your imagination 
and judgment to think of something more practical. I am 
utterly in the dark as to the materials in various localities, 
but am going on the supposition that they are to be found 
everywhere. . . . 

' Supposing meetings were once a month, consisting of 
a paper read, &c. The Lecturer might be supplied from 
London or elsewhere, if he could not be found on the spot. 
The public might be admitted (Catholics gratis Protestants 
by tickets or Catholics by tickets, Protestants on payment), 
and the meeting advertised. The Lecture would be pre- 
ceded by a few prayers. Boys preach in the Oratorium 
Parvum at Rome; so it would be quite free for laymen to 

'How many good Lecturers and speakers could you 
collect up and down the country? Northcote, Thompson, 
yourself, Simpson, &c., &c. The thing would be to keep it 
from becoming ecclesiastical (in which case it would fall 
under the priests of the place, who, if dull, would ruin the 
whole), and yet under ecclesiastical authority. The Cardinal 
surely would take up the idea (if practical) the first qualifi- 
cation for a member would be energy. If you got six men in 
London, six in Birmingham, six in Liverpool, &c., might you 
not do it? If you could not get six men of talent, they at 
least must be willing simply to put themselves under those 
who had talent, i.e. from London or elsewhere. 3 . . . 

'If you want a thing done, you should do it yourself/ says 
the proverb and shortly after writing this letter Newman 
determined to make his own contribution to the enterprise 
he had suggested, though he was a priest, not a layman. He 
did so in a series of lectures entitled in his published works 


' Lectures on Catholicism in England/ the best written, in his 
opinion, of all his works, 1 and of which the consequences 
were momentous. 

The determination to lecture was not, however, taken at 
once. April and May were well occupied by the needs of 
the influx of converts which the singular unfairness of the 
agitation helped to bring. Newman, went to Leeds on April 
2 in company with Father Nicholas Darnell, and his diary 
records that on that evening he 'began receiving converts.' 
On the following day many were admitted publicly, including 
William Paine Neville, Newman's devoted friend and after- 
wards his literary executor, who followed him a few days 
later to the Oratory, to remain there for upwards of half 
a century until his death in 1905. The suspicions which 
Manning's presence at Abbotsford had aroused were verified. 
On April 6 both he and James Hope were deceived' in 
London. On April 23, in company with Henry Wilberforce, 
Manning came to the Oratory for a brief visit. The exciting 
events of the hour brought thither other visitors in the 
following month Lord Dunraven, Sir John Acton, Dollinger 
who was staying in England as Acton's friend and dined 
with Newman on May 26 and many more. The Oratorium 
Parvum was started in the same month, as an experiment in 
the organising of lay Catholics in the neighbourhood. It 
was ostensibly for its members that Newman's lectures were 
planned. They were delivered in the Corn Exchange at 
Birmingham once a week, the first being on Monday, June 30. 
Newman delivered the lectures sitting at a raised desk, and 
over his chair hung a picture of St. Philip Neri. It is 
interesting to record that Henry Edward Manning was 
present at the first of the series- 

The peals of laughter audible from outside to which 
Miss Giberne refers in her diary, showed something in 
the lectures unlike Newman's ordinary manner. In truth, 
as those who have read them are aware, they abounded in 
pungent satire, the more effective because it came not from 
a controversialist who delighted in strong words and startling 
statements, but from one who was notoriously reserved 

1 So he says in a letter to Dean Church. These Lectures in the current 
edition of Newman's works are called The Present Position of Catholics. 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 265 

in language and self-restrained. In constructive argument, 
more especially, Newman, alive as he was to all the anomalies 
and scandals visible in Church history, could very rarely bring 
himself to employ the positive and confident tone, the strong 
expressions, the one-sided statements, the would-be de- 
monstrative proofs of many popular Catholic controversialists. 
His fastidiousness and his accurate sense of fact forbade it. 
The approach to a breach of this rule in the case of the King 
William Street lectures was probably one of the things 
which made their preparation distasteful to him. In the 
present case such objections to vehement language no 
longer held. He had satisfied himself that he was face to 
face not with serious convictions, but with a monstrous and 
preposterous phenomenon the No-popery prejudice, which 
had for more than two centuries deformed and dis- 
graced the national mind. He revelled in the strength of 
his case; and though never off his guard and never for- 
getting the reservations in his attack which truth required, 
he let himself go in occasional passages with complete 
unreserve and great effect. 

The lectures are well known. But a few extracts must 
be given to remind the reader of their manner and their 
place in Newman's work. The less controversial part, but 
not the least able, is found in the earlier lectures which 
describe how the No-popery assumptions have come to be 
the very first principles in the mental equipment of the 
average Englishman. 

The analysis is too long to be cited in these pages, but 
specimens of the resulting axioms which have become stamped 
ineffaceably on the popular mind are given in the following 
passage : 

'Elizabeth's reign is "golden," Mary is " bloody," the 
Church of England is "pure and apostolical," the Reformers 
are "judicious," the Prayer Book is "incomparable," or 
"beautiful," the Thirty-nine Articles are "moderate," 
"Pope" and "pagan" go together, and "the Pope, the 
Devil, and t the Pretender." The anti-Catholic rancour is 
carried into your marts of commerce; London is. burned 
down, and forthwith your greatest architect is instructed to 
set up a tall pillar to perpetuate the lie that the Papists 
were the incendiaries. Take your controversy with you when 


you sit down to cards, and let the taunting name of Pope Joan 
be the title of your game. Run a horse the coming year, and 
among your Sorcerers, Lamplighters, Malibrans, and Priams, 
you will find Crucifix a striking, perhaps a lucky name for your 
beast; it is but the emblem of an extinct superstition. Dress 
up for some fancy ball, or morris-dance, and let the Grand 
Turk jump about on one side of you, and the Pope with 
cross, and beads, and triple crown, upon the other. Go to 
the stage of the Mountebank, and teach him, when he 
displays his sleight-of-hand, to give effect to his tricks by 
the most sacred words of the Catholic ritual. Into your very 
vocabulary let Protestantism enter; let priest, and mass, and 
mass-priest, and mass-house have an offensive savour on your 
palate; let monk be a word of reproach; let Jesuitism and 
Jesuitical, in their first intention, stand for what is dis- 
honourable and vile, What chance has a Catholic against 
so multitudinous, so elementary a Tradition? Here is the 
Tradition of the Court, and of the Law, and of Society, and 
of Literature, strong in themselves, and acting on each other, 
and acting oh a willing people, and the willing people act- 
ing on them, till the whole edifice stands self-supported, 
reminding one of some vast arch (as at times may be seen), 
from which the supports have crumbled away by age, but 
which endures still, and supports the huge mass of brickwork 
which lies above it, by the simple cohesion of parts which the 
same age has effected/ 

True to the view he had expressed to Mr. Capes, Newman 
hardly ever in the whole course of the lectures attacked the 
Established Church. But the parsons had had so large a share 
in starting and fanning the agitation that he could not entirely 
let them off: and he did refer to the Church of England in one 
passage among the most unrestrained and amusing pieces of 
burlesque in the series; but he rapidly passed again from the 
Establishment to the people. Here is the passage in question: 

'The Anglican Church agrees to differ with its own 
children on a thousand points/ he writes; c one is sacred 
that her Majesty the Queen is "the Mother and Mistress 
of all Churches"; on one dogma it is infallible, on one it 
may securely insist without fear of being unseasonable or 
excessive that "the Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction 
in this realm." Here is sunshine amid the darkness, sense 
amid confusion, an intelligible strain amid a Babel of sounds; 
whatever befalls, here is sure footing; it is, "No peace with 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 267 

Rome/ 3 "Down with the Pope," and "The Church in danger." 
Never has the Establishment failed in the use of these 
important and effective watchwords; many are its short- 
comings, but it is without reproach in the execution of this 
its special charge. Heresy, and scepticism, and infidelity, 
and fanaticism, may challenge it in vain; but fling upon the 
gale the faintest whisper of Catholicism, and it recognises 
by instinct the presence of its connatural foe. Forthwith, 
as during the last year, the atmosphere is tremulous with 
agitation, and discharges its vibrations far and wide. A 
movement is in birth which has no natural crisis or 
resolution. Spontaneously the bells of the steeples begin 
to sound. Not by an act of volition, but by a sort of 
mechanical impulse, bishop and dean, archdeacon and 
canon, rector and curate, one after another, each on his high 
tower, off they set, swinging and booming, tolling and 
chiming, with nervous intenseness, and thickening emotion, 
and deepening volume, the old ding-dong which has scared 
town and country this weary time; tolling and chiming away, 
jingling and clamouring and ringing the changes on their 
poor half-dozen notes, all about the "Popish aggression," "in- 
solent and insidious," "insidious and insolent," "insolent and 
atrocious," "atrocious and insolent," "atrocious, insolent, 
and ungrateful," "ungrateful, insolent, and atrocious," "foul 
and offensive," "pestilent and horrid," "subtle and unholy," 
"audacious and revolting," "contemptible and shameless," 
"malignant," "frightful," "mad," "meretricious," bobs (I 
think the ringers call them), bobs, and bobs-royal, and triple- 
bob-majors, and grandsires, to the extent of their compass 
and the full ring of their metal, in honour of Queen Bess, and to 
the confusion of the Holy Father and the Princes of the Church. 
'So it is now; so it was twenty years ago; nay, so it has 
been in all years as they came, even the least controversial. 
If there was no call for a contest, at least there was the 
opportunity of a triumph. Who could want matter for 
a sermon, if ever his thoughts would not flow, whether 
for convenient digression, or effective peroration? Did a 
preacher wish for an illustration of heathen superstition 
or Jewish bigotry, or an instance of hypocrisy, ignorance, or 
spiritual pride? the Catholics were at hand. The deliverance 
from Egypt, the golden calf, the fall of Dagon, the sin of 
Solomon, the cruelties of Jezebel, the worship of Baal, the 
destruction of the brazen serpent, the finding of the law, the 
captivity in Babylon, Nebuchoctonosor's image, Pharisees, 


Sadducees, Herodians, and Zealots, mint, anise, and cummin, 
brazen pots and vessels, all in their respective places and ways, 
would give opportunity to a few grave words of allusion to 
the "monstrous errors" or the "childish absurdities" of the 
" Romish faith.' 7 Does any one wish an example of pride? 
there stands Wolsey; of barbarity? there is the Duke of 
Alva; of rebellion? there is Becket; of ambition? there is 
Hildebrand; of profligacy? there is Caesar Borgia; of super- 
stition? there is Louis the Eleventh; of fanaticism? there are 
the Crusaders. Saints and sinners, monks and laymen, the 
devout and the worldly, provided they be but Catholics, are 
heaped together in one indiscriminate mass, to be drawn forth 
for inspection and exposure according to the need. 

'The consequence is natural; tell a person of ordinary 
intelligence, Churchman or Dissenter, that the vulgar a lega- 
tions against us are but slanders, simple lies, or exaggera- 
tions, or misrepresentations; or, as far as they are true, 
admitting of defence or justification, and not to the point; 
and he will laugh in your face at your simplicity, or lift up 
hands and eyes at your unparalleled effrontery. The utmost 
concession he will make is to allow the possibility of in- 
cidental and immaterial error in the accusations which are 
brought against us; but the substance of the traditional view 
he believes, as firmly as he does the Gospel, and if you reject 
it and protest against it, he will say it is just what is to be 
expected of a Catholic, to lie and to circumvent. To tell 
him, at his time of life, that Catholics do not rate sin at a 
fixed price, that they may not get absolution for a sin 
in prospect, that priests can live in purity, that nuns do not 
murder each other, that the laity do not make images their 
God, that Catholics would not burn Protestants if they 
could! Why, all this is as perfectly clear to him as the sun 
at noonday; he is ready to leave the matter to the first 
person he happens to meet; every one will tell us just the 
same; only let us try; he never knew there was any doubt 
at all about it; he is surprised, for he thought we granted it. 
When he was young, he has heard it said again and again; 
to his certain knowledge it had uniformly been said the last 
forty, fifty, sixty years, and no one ever denied it; it is so in 
all the books he ever looked into; what is the world coming 
to? What is true, if this is not? So, Catholics are to be 
whitewashed ! What next? ' 

Faithful to his usual habit of refraining from all substantial 
exaggeration, the lecturer draws up after this sally. For there 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 269 

is a weighty Protestantism as he goes on to recognise 
that of the minority, of the thinking minds, which attacks 
Catholics with serious and genuinely philosophical arguments. 
To these minds such extravagances as the above would be as 
absurd as to himself. He sees the objection in the eyes and 
minds of his abler listeners or readers, and at once takes from 
them this particular weapon of defence by admitting its justice, 
but denying its appositeness. He thus drives home his attack, 
the scope and object better defined, the escape cut off. 

'I allow all this/ he continues: 'but now I am consider- 
ing, not the Protestantism of the few, but of the many: those 
great men, and those philosophical arguments, whatever be 
their weight, have no influence with the many. Crowds do 
not assemble in Exeter Hall, mobs do not burn the Pope, 
from reverence for Lord Bacon, Locke, or Butler, or for 
anything those gifted men have recorded. I am treating of 
the unpopularity of Catholicism now and here, as it exists 
in the year 1851, and in London, or in Edinburgh, or in 
Birmingham, or in Bristol, or in Manchester, or in Glasgow; 
among the gentlemen and yeomen of Yorkshire, Devonshire, 
and Kent; in the Inns of Court, and in the schools and 
colleges of the land; and I say this Tradition does not flow 
from the mouth of the half-dozen wise, or philosophic, or 
learned men who can be summoned to its support, but is 
a tradition of nursery stories, school stories, public-house 
stories, club-house stories, drawing-room stories, platform 
stories, pulpit stories; a tradition of newspapers, magazines, 
reviews, pamphlets, romances, novels, poems, and light 
literature of all kind, literature of the day; a tradition of 
selections from the English classics, bits of poetry, passages 
of history, sermons, chance essays, extracts from books of 
travel, anonymous anecdotes, lectures on prophecy, statements 
and arguments of polemical writers, made up into small 
octavos for class-books, and into pretty miniatures for 
presents; a tradition floating in the air; which we found in 
being when we first came to years of reason; which has been 
borne in upon us by all we saw, heard, or read, in high life, in 
parliament, in law courts, in general society; which our 
fathers told us had ever been in their day; a tradition, 
therefore, truly universal and immemorial, and good as far as 
a tradition can be good, but, after all, not more than a 
tradition is worth: I mean, requiring some ultimate authority 
to make it trustworthy. Trace up, then, the tradition to its 


first startings, its roots and its sources, if you are to form a 
judgment whether it is more than a tradition. It may be a 
good tradition, and yet after all good for nothing. What 
profit, though ninety-nine links of a chain be sound, if the 
topmost is broken? Now I do not hesitate to assert, that 
this Protestant Tradition, on which English faith hangs, is 
wanting just in the first link/ 

This baseless tradition is the real root of the English 
prejudice. Charges are made with all pretence of circum- 
stantial evidence, and yet with a degree of unfairness which 
brings out the fact that they are based in reality simply on 
invincible calumny. On this he insists, and traces with great 
psychological subtlety the process of baseless insinuation: 

'No evidence against us is too little; no infliction too great, 
Statement without proof, though inadmissible in every other 
case, is all fair when we are concerned. A Protestant is at 
liberty to bring a charge against us, and challenge us to 
refute, not any proof he brings, for he brings none, but Ms 
simple assumption or assertion. And perhaps we accept his 
challenge, and then we find we have to deal with matters so 
vague or so minute, so general or so particular, that we are 
at our wit's end to know how to grapple with them. ^ For 
instance, " Every twentieth man you meet is a Jesuit in 
disguise"; or, " Nunneries are, for the most part, prisons." 
How is it possible to meet such sweeping charges? The 
utmost we can do, in the nature of things, is to show that this 
particular man, or that, is not a Jesuit; or that this or that 
particular nunnery is not a prison; but who said he was? 
who said it was? What our Protestant accuser asserted 
was, that every twentieth man was a Jesuit, and most nunneries 
were prisons. How is this refuted by clearing this or that 
person or nunnery of the charge? Thus, if the accuser is not 
to be called on to give proofs of what he say s,^ we are simply 
helpless, and must sit down meekly under the imputation. 

'At another time, however, a definite fact is stated, and 
we are referred to the authority on which it is put forward. 
What is the authority? Albertus Magnus, perhaps, or 
Gerson, or Baronius, with a silence about volume and page; 
their works consisting of five, ten, fifteen, twenty, or thirty 
folios, printed in double columns. How are we possibly to 
find the needle in this stack of hay? Or by a refinement of 
unfairness, perhaps a wrong volume or page is carelessly 
given; and when we cannot find there the statement which our 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 271 

opponent has made,we are left in an unpleasant doubt whether 
our ill success is to be ascribed to our eyes or to his pen. 

' Sometimes, again, the crime charged on us is brought 
out with such startling vividness and circumstantial finish as 
to seem to carry its own evidence with it, and to dispense, in 
the eyes of the public, with the reference which in fairness 
should attend it. The scene is laid in some fortress of the 
savage Apennine, or in secluded Languedoc, or in remote 
Poland, or the high table-land of Mexico; or it is a legend 
about some priest of a small village of Calabria, called 
Buonavalle, in the fourteenth century; or about a monk of 
the monastery of S. Spirito, in S. Filippo d'Argiro, in the time 
of Charlemagne. Or the story runs, that Don Felix 
Malatesta de Guadalupe, a Benedictine monk of Andalusia, 
and father confessor to the Prince of the Asturias, who died 
in 1821, left behind him his confessions in manuscript, which 
were carried off by the French, with other valuable documents, 
from his convent, which they pillaged in their retreat from 
the field of Salamanca; and that, in these confessions, he 
frankly avows that he had killed three of his monastic brothers 
of whom he was jealous, had poisoned half-a-dozen women, 
and sent off in boxes and hampers to Cadiz and Barcelona 
thirty-five infants; moreover, that he felt no misgivings 
about these abominable deeds, because, as he observes with 
great naivete, he had every day, for many years, burnt a 
candle to the Blessed Virgin; had cursed periodically all 
heretics, especially the royal family of England; had burnt a 
student of Coimbra for asserting the earth went round the 
sun; had worn about him, day and night, a relic of St. Diego; 
and had provided that five hundred masses should be said for 
the repose of his soul within eight days after his decease. 

' Tales such as these, the like of which it is very easy to 
point out in print, are suitably contrived to answer the 
purpose which brings them into being. A Catholic who, in 
default of testimony offered in their behalf, volunteers to 
refute them on their internal evidence, and sets about (so to 
say) cross-examining them, finds himself at once in an untold 
labyrinth of embarrassments. First he inquires, is there a 
village in Calabria of the name of Buonavalle? is there a 
convent of S. Spirito in the Sicilian town specified? did it 
exist in the time of Charlemagne? who were the successive 
confessors of the Prince of the Asturias during the first twenty 
years of this century? what has Andalusia to do with 
Salamanca? when was the last Auto dafe in Spain? did the 


French pillage any convent whatever in the neighbourhood 
of Salamanca about the year 1812? questions sufficient for 
a school examination. He goes to his maps, gazetteers, guide- 
books, travels, histories; soon a perplexity arises about the 
dates: are his editions recent enough for his purpose? do 
their historical notices go far enough back? Well, after a 
great deal of trouble, after writing about to friends, consulting 
libraries, and comparing statements, let us suppose him to 
prove most conclusively the utter absurdity of the slanderous 
story, and to bring out a lucid, powerful, and unanswerable 
reply; who cares for it by that time? who cares for the story 
itself? it has done its work; time stops for no man; it has 
created or deepened the impression in the minds of its hearers 
that a monk commits murder or adultery as readily as he 
eats his dinner. Men forget the process by which they re- 
ceived it, but there it is, clear and indelible. Or supposing they 
recollect the particular slander ever so well, still they have no 
taste or stomach for entering into a long controversy about 
it; their mind is already made up; they have formed their 
views; the author they have trusted may, indeed, have been 
inaccurate in some of his details; it can be nothing more. 
Who can fairly impose on them the perplexity and whirl of 
going through a bout of controversy, where "one says/' and 
"the other says,' 5 and "he says that he says that he does 
not say or ought not to say what he does say or ought to 
say"? It demands an effort and strain of attention 
which they have no sort of purpose of bestowing. The 
Catholic cannot get a fair hearing; his book remains awhile 
in the shop windows, and then is taken down again.' 

Enough has been cited to show the general manner of the 
indictment, which, however, is more minute than brief ex- 
tracts can represent. He sums up the whole as follows: 

'Such, then, is Popular Protestantism, considered in its 
opposition to Catholics. Its truth is Establishment by law; 
its philosophy is Theory; its faith is Prejudice; its facts 
are Fictions; its reasonings Fallacies; and its security is 
Ignorance about those whom it is opposing. The Law says 
that white is black; Ignorance says, why not? Theory says 
it ought to be, Fallacy says it must be, Fiction says it is, and 
Prejudice says it shall be.' 

What, then, can Catholics do in fighting with this Hydra 
of many-headed prejudice? The reply is that, as what is 

THE PAPAL AGGRESSION (1850-1851) 273 

preposterous in the current views of Catholicism is simply 
false, and kept alive by ignorance, English Catholics must 
force their ' countrymen to know them personally and thus 
to see its falsehood. This may not bring them nearer to the 
Church, but it will kill or wound mortally the preposterous 
monster with which the lectures are concerned. 

'Oblige men to know you; persuade them, importune them, 
shame them into knowing you. Make it so clear what you are, 
that they cannot affect not to see you, nor refuse to justify you. 
Do not even let them off with silence, but give them no escape 
from confessing that you are not what they thought you were. 
They will look down, they will look aside, they will look in the 
air, they will shut their eyes, they will keep them shut. They 
will do all in their power not to see you; the nearer you come, 
they will close their eyelids all the tighter; they will be very 
angry and frightened, and give the alarm as if you were going to 
murder them. They will do anything but look at you. . . . 

' Let each stand on his own ground; let each approve 
himself in his own neighbourhood; if each portion is 
defended, the whole is secured. Take care of the pence, and 
the pounds will take care of themselves. Let the London 
press alone; do not appeal to it; do not expostulate with it, 
do not flatter it; care not for popular opinion, cultivate local. 
And then if troubled times come on, and the enemy rages, 
and his many voices go forth from one centre all through 
England, threatening and reviling us, and muttering, in his 
cowardly way, about brickbats, bludgeons, and lighted brands, 
why in that case the Birmingham people will say, " Catholics 
are, doubtless, an infamous set, and not to be trusted, for the 
Times says so, and Exeter Hall, and the Prime Minister, and 
the Bishops of the Establishment; and such good authorities 
cannot be wrong; but somehow an exception must certainly 
be made for the Catholics of Birmingham. They are not like 
the rest; they are indeed a shocking set at Manchester, 
Preston, Blackburn, and Liverpool; but, however you account 
for it, they are respectable men here. Priests in general are 
perfect monsters; but here they are certainly unblemished in 
their lives, and take great pains with their people. Bishops 
are tyrants, and, as Maria Monk says, cut-throats, always 
excepting the Bishop of Birmingham, who affects no state or 
pomp, is simple and unassuming, and always in his work.' 7 
And in like manner, the Manchester people will say, "Oh, 
certainly, Popery is horrible, and must be kept down. Still, 


let us give the devil his due, they are a remarkably excellent 
body of men here, and we will take care no one does them 
any harm. It is very different at Birmingham; there they 
have a Bishop, and that makes all the difference; he is a 
Wolsey all over; and the priests, too, in Birmingham are at 
least one in twelve infidels. We do not recollect who ascer- 
tained this, but it was some most respectable man, who was 
far too conscientious and too charitable to slander any one." 
And thus, my Brothers, the charges against Catholics will 
become a sort of Hunt-the-slipper, everywhere and nowhere, 
and will end in " sound and fury, signifying nothing.'" 

Let it be again noted as this work is largely a 
psychological study that once again in this last lecture New- 
man declines to sustain a note which might savour of exaggera- 
tion if it were prolonged. He looks hopefully to the future, 
and refuses to believe that any lasting and serious persecution 
is impending, and with a genuine touch of human nature 
disclaims for himself the heroic mould out of which martyrs 
are fashioned. Speaking of the talk of a possible repetition 
of the treatment Catholics experienced under William of 
Orange, he writes: 

c lt will not be so: yet late events have shown, that 
though I never have underrated the intense prejudice which 
prevails against us, I did overrate that Anglo-Saxon love of 
justice and fair dealing which I thought would be its match. 
Alas 1 that I should have to say so, but it is no matter to the 
Catholic, though much matter to the Englishman. It is no 
matter to us, because, as I have said, "Greater is He that is 
in you than he that is in the world." I do not, cannot think 
a time of serious trial is at hand: I would not willingly use 
big words, or provoke what is so dreadful, or seem to accom- 
plish it by suggesting it. And for myself, I confess I have no 
love of suffering at all; nor am I at a time of life when a 
man commonly loves to risk it. To be quiet and to be un- 
disturbed, to be at peace with all, to live in the sight of my 
brethren, to meditate on the future, and to die such is the 
prospect, which is rather suitable to such as me.' 


THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 

Two incidents during the course of the Corn Exchange 
lectures were fraught with momentous consequences. On 
July 8, Dr. Cullen, Archbishop of Armagh, paid a visit to the 
Oratory, and asked Newman to undertake as Rector the 
foundation of a Catholic University in Ireland. Sir Robert 
Peel's Queen's Colleges of Galway and Cork had been banned 
by the Irish episcopate. They were founded by Peel in 1846 
with a genuine desire of giving Irish Catholics facilities for 
University education on the same terms as their fellow- 
countrymen. Trinity College was still Protestant in its 
constitution; the new colleges were undenominational. Dr. 
Murray, Archbishop of Dublin, had favoured their acceptance 
by Catholics, in the belief that just as the undenominational 
primary education had in Catholic districts fallen into 
Catholic hands and fulfilled all the practical purposes of 
Catholic schools, so the Queen's Colleges at Cork and Gal- 
way, from their situation amid an overwhelming majority 
of Catholics in the population, would become practically 
Catholic. It was a moment, however, when the opposition 
to 'mixed' education was very pronounced in Rome. In 
addition, Dr. Cullen objected to the colleges, and his influ- 
ence in Rome was great. Gregory XVI. opposed the 
colleges, and when his successor Pius IX. returned to the 
Vatican after the troubles of 1848 and 1849, his policy was 
in this respect similar to that of his predecessor. Moreover, 
Peel went out of office in 1846, and the prospect of the 
Queen's Colleges really giving Catholics fair play became 
far less hopeful. The synod of Thurles in 1850,. by the 
narrow majority of one, finally endorsed the policy of Dr. 
Cullen and decreed the foundation of a Catholic University 


for Ireland. The great work done by the Catholic University 
of Louvain in Belgium at the outset not a State foundation, 
but a private enterprise was an encouraging precedent. And 
the distinguished name of Newman appeared to Dr. Cullen to 
promise great things for the success of the scheme if he could be 
persuaded to take part in it. Newman accepted the proposal 
in circumstances which shall be detailed in a future chapter. 
The second event to which I refer was Newman's famous 
indictment of Dr. Achilli in the Corn Exchange lectures, 
and the resulting action for libel. It struck Newman most 
painfully that the great mass of his fellow-countrymen were 
not at all satisfied with the charges against Catholicism 
preferred by respectable enemies, but deliberately welcomed 
the lies of notorious blackguards. Newman's old Oxford 
friend, Blanco White, had brought a very severe indictment 
against the Catholic Church, of which he had been a member 
in his boyhood. To any fair-minded man his accusations 
bore at least the stamp of honesty. But they left Rome 
human and not monstrous. The English palate was accus- 
tomed to much stronger meat in the current No-popery 
literature. Blanco White's testimony was therefore ignored 
by the English public. And to whom did they listen? 
The very public which assumed the most elevated moral 
tone in its horror of papist corruption, which championed 
scrupulous veracity against papist equivocation, fair play 
and toleration against the ways of the Inquisition, flocked in 
crowds to learn the case against Rome from the lectures of 
an unfrocked priest, not only without a character of any kind, 
but one who might without exaggeration be described as a 
portent of immorality. This was Dr. Giacinto Achilli, 
formerly a Dominican friar, now a public lecturer in London, 
his subjects being the scandals of the Roman Inquisition. 

Achilli had been arrested by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome 
under the Pontifical Government and imprisoned by the 
Inquisition for preaching against the Catholic religion and 
taking part in revolutionary agitation. He had gained his 
freedom through the influence of Englishmen; and he came 
to England in 1850, and thenceforth posed as a released 
prisoner of the Inquisition whose sole crime had been 
disbelief in the mummeries of Rome. The moment was an 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 277 

opportune one. The No-popery fever created by the Papal 
Aggression clamoured for scandals in the Church of Rome 
to feed the public mind. And these Dr. Achilli liberally sup- 
plied. Hardly any manifestation of opinion in modern times 
illustrated the bigoted credulity of the No-popery party in 
England more forcibly than the acclaim accorded to Achilli. 
This disreputable priest (as he is now universally admitted to 
have been) wrote gravely to the Christian Times on February 
22, 1851, advocating the establishment of a college in England 
for evangelising Italy, and the suggestion was hailed with 
applause by the British public. He had received special 
attentions on his first arrival from Lord Palmerston as Secre- 
tary for Foreign Affairs, and a deputation from the Council of 
the Evangelical Alliance tendered to the Foreign Minister their 
formal thanks in an interminable sentence, 'for the important 
and valuable services which in the exercise of a generous phi- 
lanthropy, and a sacred regard to the claims of truth and of 
conscience, combined with a discriminating wisdom, worthy 
of his exalted and responsible position, his lordship had been 
able to render,' &c. &c. 'Dr. Achilli accompanied the deputa- 
tion,' so we read in the report, 'to express formally his obliga- 
tions to Lord Palmerston, and was most kindly received, his 
lordship conversing with him at some length in Italian.' 1 

1 The following extracts from a hymn and chorus with which Achilli had been 
received on his appearance in Exeter Hall on March 7, 1850, written and com- 
posed by the Rev. J. R. Leichfield, give an idea of the acclaim accorded to 
Achilli by Protestant enthusiasts: 

' Hail! Stranger Friend from Rome! 

From the Roman dungeon, dark and deep; 
Hail! to the freeman's land and home, 
Where the free will thy freedom keep! 
Hail! Roman prisoner, hail! 
No more a prisoner now! 
Truth, Justice, Freedom, shall prevail, 
And priests before them bow! 

' Englishmen boldly planted their feet 

On Error's chosen land: 
Where priests had rule, and the Pope his seat, 
They urged their just demand. 
Hail! Roman prisoner, hail! &c. 

1 He comes, he comes, escaped from his chains! 

He blesses the kind and brave; 
On English ground he stands, and disdains 
His foes across the wave! 
Hail! Roman prisoner, hail! &c.' 


Cardinal Wiseman wrote an article in the Dublin Review 
of July 1850, giving a detailed account, with, dates and places, 
of Dr. Achilli' s offences against morality. The article, though 
republished as a pamphlet, was never either replied to or pro- 
tested against by AchillL It supplied very effective material 
for Newman's lecture; yet with his usual caution he inquired 
of James Hope-Scott, before making use of it, whether to 
repeat the charges in a lecture was to incur any risk of a 
libel action. 

'Could you off hand answer me a question? 7 he writes 
on July 16; ' could I be had up for a libel, in criminal court 
or civil, for saying against Dr. Achilli the contents of the 
Article in the Dublin, since published as a pamphlet? I 
can't make out he has answered it. It contains the gravest 
charges, . . . with many of the legal documents proving 

Hope-Scott replied that a libel prosecution was possible, 
but not probable. He thought that the risk might be taken 
in the circumstances, and Newman delivered his lecture on 
July 28. 

The fourth lecture had dealt with Blanco White, the 
respectable hater of Catholicism, whose testimony wholly 
failed to satisfy the British appetite for No-popery scandals. 
In this the fifth lecture he depicted the greed with which 
this same public, which would not listen to even the half- 
defence of Catholicism which the words of an honest man 
could not avoid supplying, sucked in the lying charges of 
a profligate ex-friar, the burden of whose accusation was 
the intolerance and persecuting injustice of the Inquisition. 
Newman accumulated instances of flagrant and violent 
exhibitions of bigotry against Catholics called forth by the 
so-called ' Papal aggression.' 'Such,' he continued, 'are 
some of the phenomena of a Religion which makes it its 
special boast to be the Prophet of Toleration. And in the 
midst of outrages such as these, my brothers of the Oratory, 
wiping its mouth, and clasping its hands, and turning up its 
eyes, it trudges to the Town Hall to hear Dr. Achilli expose 
the Inquisition.' 

Then followed an account of the career of the man whose 
testimony Englishmen flocked to hear, and treated as gospel. 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 279 

an account reproduced precisely from Dr. Wiseman's article 
and giving instances of immorality astonishing in frequency 
and unblushing publicity. 1 If so public a treatment of the 
theme now startles us to read, it must be remembered that 
it was a moment of immense tension. Flagrant calumnies 
against Catholics were in daily circulation. Newman realised 
that his blow must be unflinching and must be struck with 
all his might. 

Hope-Scott proved wrong in his confidence. Achilli took 
note of the exasperation of public feeling. The crowd was 
longing to hit back at the brilliant Oratorian. A jury of 

1 The following is the passage in which Achillas offences were detailed: 
' Ahl Dr. Achilli j I might have spoken of him last week, had time admitted 
of it. The Protestant world flocks to hear him, because he has something to 
tell of the Catholic Church. He has something to tell, it is true; he has a scandal 
to reveal, he has an argument to exhibit. It is a simple one, and a powerful 
one, as far as it goes and it is one. That one argument is himself; it is his 
presence which is the triumph of Protestants; it is the sight of him which is a 
Catholic's confusion. It is indeed our great confusion, that our Holy Mother 
could have had a priest like him. He feels the force of the. argument, and he 
shows himself to the multitude that is gazing on him. "Mothers of families," 
he seems to say, "gentle maidens, innocent children, look at me, for I am worth 
looking at. You do not see such a sight every day. Can any church live over 
the imputation of such a production as I am? I have been a Catholic and an 
infidel; I have been a Roman priest and a hypocrite; I have been a profligate 
under a cowl. I am that Father Achilli, who, as early as 1826, was deprived of 
my faculty to lecture, for an offence which my superiors did their best to conceal; 
and who in 1827 had already earned the reputation of a scandalous friar. I am 
that Achilli, who in the diocese of Viterbo in February, 1831, robbed of her 
honour a young woman of eighteen; who in September, 1833, was found 
guilty of a second such crime, in the case of a person of twenty-eight; and who 
perpetrated a third in July, 1834, in the case of another aged twenty-four. I 
am he, who afterwards was found guilty of sins, similar or worse, in other towns 
of the neighbourhood. I am that son of St. Dominic who is known to have 
repeated the offence at Capua, in 1834 and 1835; and at Naples again, in 1840, 
in the case of a child of fifteen. I am he who chose the sacristy of the church 
for one of these crimes and Good Friday for another. Look on me, ye mothers 
of England, a confessor against Popery, for ye 'ne'er may look upon my like 
again.' I am that veritable priest, who, after all this, began to speak against, 
not only the Catholic faith, but the moral law, and perverted others by my teach- 
ing. I am the Cavaliere Achilli, who then went to Corfu, made the wife of a 
tailor faithless to her husband, and lived publicly and travelled about with the 
wife of a chorus-singer. I am that Professor in the Protestant College at Malta, 
who with two others was dismissed from my post for offences which the author- 
ities cannot get themselves to describe. And now attend to me, such as I am, 
and you shall see what you shall see about the barbarity and profligacy of the 
Inquisitors of Rome.'" 


twelve tradesmen was likely to be on Achilli's side. 
Newman was bigger game than Wiseman and the Dublin 
Review. Within a month of the lecture Achilli did bring 
an action for libel. Newman had relied entirely on the 
Dublin article, and had no evidence whatever to produce, 
apart from such papers as Dr. Wiseman could give him. 
He was a poor man, and though he did not anticipate 
what proved to be the actual amount of the expenses 
incurred, he knew that they must be heavy, and he had no 
means of defraying them. On the other hand, to withdraw 
the charges would be in effect to plead guilty at the least to 
rash defamation of character on the part of Dr. Wiseman 
as well as himself, and to admit little less of the bulk 
of Catholics who had applauded him. He had his hands 
already more than full, first with the remaining Corn Ex- 
change lectures and then with the preparation of the inaugural 
discourses for his Irish Rectorship, Everything seemed to 
go against Newman from the first. A compromise was 
suggested; but the bigotry of the time proved too strong. 
A mere withdrawal of the charges so worded as not to imply 
a denial of their truth was declined by the prosecution. And 
to declare them false Newman would not consent. 

Cardinal Wiseman was applied to, as the authority for the 
charges; but in the stress of that troublous time he seemed to 
Newman only to give half his mind to the affair. He could 
not at once find the documents on which he had relied in his 
article, and Newman believed that he had not even looked for 
them. 1 The Oratorian fathers went to Naples to collect 
evidence, but the Cardinal's introductions proved insufficient 
to gain them access to the police books. Then again the 
plea of 'Not guilty ; put in in Newman's behalf in place of 
the sole plea of justification proved to be unfortunate. 
Mr. Henry Matthews (afterwards Lord Llandaff) urged the 
importance of confining the plea to that of c justification ' not 
only as the more dignified course, but also as securing the 
right of opening the case no small matter when a prejudiced 
jury has to be influenced. Mr. Matthews' view was rejected as 
shutting the door to all possibility of escaping technically from 
responsibility for accusations for which Cardinal Wiseman in 

1 That he did look for them is certain. See Life of Wiseman, ii. p. 37. 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 281 

the Dublin Review had been primarily responsible. This hope 
proved illusory, and an advantage was thus lost with no 
corresponding gain. Newman hoped for fair treatment at 
all events from his judge; but Lord Campbell, who was to 
try the case, was one of the prominent spokesmen of the 
anti-Catholic agitation, and showed marked hostility to the 
Oratorian from the beginning. Indeed, Newman learnt from 
his lawyer, Mr. Lewin, that there was a Protestant feeling 
among all the judges. He felt that he was in the hands of 
enemies. He had hoped in the case of so flagrant a wrong- 
doer to obtain written affidavits from Achillas victims, which 
would save the expense of importing foreign witnesses; but 
the trial was fixed for an early date, and mere affidavits 
from witnesses abroad were (his counsel told him) legally 
insufficient after the date was determined. Witnesses had 
not only to be found, but to be brought to England, in order 
to give evidence personally. Then again, at one moment, 
there was every symptom that insufficient time would be 
given to procure the evidence at all. We see in his letters 
the intense strain of anxiety which this state of things caused. 
However, he had good friends, and by dint of great exertions 
enough witnesses to establish many of the charges were 
ready and at hand by the beginning of February 1852. It 
was at, this time of hard work and anxiety that the Oratorians 
were preparing to enter their present home in Hagley Road, 
Edgbaston. The actual move was effected on April 15. 

One of those who was most successful in finding witnesses 
and bringing them to England has left a record showing the 
difficulty of the task Miss Maria Rosina Giberne, the old 
friend of Newman's family. We see in her account the 
absolute trust and loving promptness on which he could 
count from his loyal disciples. For this hard task was 
undertaken by Miss Giberne without a word no questions 
asked, no difficulties raised. C 0ne evening/ writes Miss 
Giberne, 'after I had been to confession (the confessional 
was then in a guest-room) the Father leaning against a 
mantelpiece said to me "I think you can be very useful 
to us in this affair." Without thinking how or when, or in 
what capacity, I could be useful to him I arose and said, 
"I am ready at your service," and my heart beat with joy 


at the thought of suffering with him to whom I was devoted. 
He continued, "We are obliged to get witnesses from Italy 
who are women. They are more likely to be willing to come 
with a lady than with one of us, so we think of sending 
you to find them." "And when, Father?" "At once, I 
think: but I will tell you to-morrow the decision of the 
Committee." . . . Next day it was decided that I should 
start on the following morning (December 6) at six. I 
asked him timidly how I was to set about the finding of the 
women. He took a weight off my mind by saying that 
Father Joseph [Gordon] was already in Rome with a lawyer 
looking for them, and that all I should have to do was to 
keep them and amuse them in England, xmtil the trial. 7 

After many adventures, including a fire on board ship in 
which lives were lost, this devoted emissary reached Rome. 
The lawyer and Father Joseph Gordon had already found 
one of the victims of Achilli. She was confided to the care 
of Miss Giberne whom she at first supposed to be another 
of those whom the apostate had injured. Eleanor Valenta, 
as this woman was named, consented to come with her 
husband Vincenzo and bear witness at the trial. At Paris 
other witnesses from Naples joined them. The task of 
keeping the Italians in good humour while the weary months 
dragged on, and the delays of English law, administered 
in this case with intention to throw difficulties in the way of 
justice, involved a strain on the nerves from which New- 
man's devoted disciple suffered long afterwards. The women 
quarrelled. The men who accompanied them drank too 
much. Four months were spent in Paris the great help 
and consolation being the encouragement of the great Jesuit, 
Pere de Ravignan, to whom Miss Giberne went to confession, 
and who made her rejoice in her suffering for the cause 
of God and the Church. Vincenzo towards the end was 
thoroughly bored by his surroundings, and said he should 
leave the rooms assigned to him by Miss Giberne and go to 
an hotel. His keeper was firm, and declared that if he did so 
she should not allow Mm a penny to pay his hotel bill. His 
wrath was gradually mollified and he consented to remain. 
Miss Giberne proposed to his wife as a peace-offering to 
increase Vincenzo's allowance of cigars from two to three 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 283 

a day. 'Her reply/ she adds, 'was too characteristic of an 
Italian for me to omit "Signora! there are three Persons in 
the Trinity, but two cigars are enough for Vincenzo." ' After 
five months in Paris they crossed to Dover in April for the trial; 
but it was again put off. Miss Giberne's devotion was in the 
end rewarded, for these witnesses proved the best at the trial. 

Newman's own letters illustrate vividly the sequence of 
events. He seems in them at times to be almost over- 
whelmed by anxiety and depression, and anticipates a 
premature old age to be brought on by worry. Yet the 
feeling that the Catholic, like the early Christian, must 
suffer for the truth, and should welcome suffering, appears 
again and again, in one whose fortitude could not substi- 
tute a thick skin for the abnormally thin one which nature 
had given him. 

I select the following to Hope-Scott, to W. G. Ward, to 
Mr. Capes, to Mr. and Mrs. W. Froude. and to Sister Imelda 
Poole and Mother Margaret Mary Hallahan, of the Dominican 
Community at Stone, whose sympathy and prayers were very 
much to him. 

To W. G. Ward he writes in November of the general 
state of the case: 

'Oratory, Birmingham. 

'My dear Ward, The marvellous mistakes which have 
been made show most strikingly that God's hand is in the 
whole matter. As to its hurting my influence, it is absurd, 
but it will be a most severe cross. 

'I have anticipated it since August last. . . . Nothing 
has been wanting on my part in vigilance and promptitude. 
I will tell you in confidence the origines mali. 

'i. The Cardinal, who did not look for his documents till 
the hour when the Rule was made absolute, and it was too 
late. In that hour he looked and found. Father Hutchison 
brought them to me. I took up my hat and went to Lewin. 
He had just returned from Westminster. It was all over. 

'2. The Cardinal ditto, who sent our dear Fathers to 
Naples with introductions not strong enough to open the 
Police books. They were told there that everything could 
have been done had the Cardinal been more alive. 

'3. The Attorney General, who said confidently that we 
should gain till Easter who took it for granted, and threw 


us off our guard completely. Consequently the affidavit was 
drawn up as a form, and the Attorney General had it with him 
several days before he brought it into Court. When it was un- 
successful, Badeley drew up other and stronger affidavits, but 
the Attorney General would have nothing to do with them. 

'4. Lord Campbell, who from the first has been against 
me. I brought the point of the Dublin Review before my 
lawyers, but they said it would only tell in mitigation of 
the punishment as, indeed, Hope had told me before I 
published the passage. 

' I cannot help thinking matters will go on to conviction 
and imprisonment; but for three months I have been saying 
" Nothing but prayer will save me/ 3 and I have been a 
Cassandra my words have fallen idle, men have but laughed. 

'Ever yours affectionately, 

J. H. N.' 

The proposal of a compromise which was favoured by 
the Bishops whom Newman consulted is fully considered in 
the following memorandum, sent on November 25, to James 

Reasons for a Compromise. 

' i. Since the charge if not true is a most scandalous libel, 
directly there is a verdict of guilty a most heavy punishment 

'2. For instance, imprisonment for a year. 

'3. The charge cannot be proved, except by evidence as 
good as if I were actually prosecuting Achilli for seduction, 
adultery, &c. 

'4. Thus it is undertaking a series of separate indictments. 

'5. It will not be enough, merely to prove every one; some 
at least must be fully brought home to him. 

'6. They are of a nature proverbially difficult to prove. 

'7. They will require a number of witnesses, at a great 

'8. The most trustworthy witnesses break down in the 
witness box. 

'g. We are In a state of extreme uncertainty what our 
evidence amounts to. We have at present no evidence 
at all, and do not know whether we shall get even what 
might be got. 

10. The judge will certainly find me guilty if he can, 

' n. And the jury is certain of giving it against me. 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 285 

( 12. And my own lawyers, as being lawyers, are obliged 
to go by legal forms and traditions, not aiming at moral effect. 

'13. The person put on his trial is one who has a great 
deal to lose. 

'14. E.g. my Irish engagement would be completely 
disarranged by a year's imprisonment. 

' 15. We must then look defeat in the face. 

'16. In cases like this, the Catholic Church has commonly 
given way, if she could not make a point. It is a question 
of expedience. 

' 17. Her Bishops flee in persecution. 

i8. St. Ambrose would not have resisted Justina, unless 
he knew he should be backed up by the Catholic people. 

'19. Mr. Weale was sent to prison, and excited no 
popular (Catholic) feeling. 

'20. Dr. McNeil and Mr. Stowell said priests deserved 
death, and roused no popular (Catholic) feeling. 

'21. The judges, to guard against the chance, might 
merely insult me with a lecture, and cripple me with a fine. 

' 22. It is not right to suffer for the mere sake of suffering, 
when Catholic interests are involved. 

'23. Suffering only tells, when it is also & fact, as inti- 
mately influencing and shared by the whole Catholic body. 

'24. I will gladly take the whole risk, if the Catholic 
body will make my cause theirs. Is this likely? 

'25. If then it can be done honourably, a compromise is 

'26. There is nothing dishonourable in yielding to ne- 
cessity, e.g. running away from a wild beast. 

1 27. It is not fair to bring a great Catholic question before 
a Protestant judge and jury. 

' 28. To submit at this moment is explained to the world 
by the fact of the judges having refused me time. 

' 29. Achilli will be detected on the long run without our 

30. A withdrawal of the passage is not a recantation. 

' 31. It must anyhow be withdrawn shortly, for conviction 
involves it. 

'32. It is withdrawn already, for the Lecture is put out of 

'33. A compromise does but anticipate what will soon be 
done with worse concomitants. 7 

The Dominican sisters at Stone had proposed a c triduo,' 
or three days' prayer, for Father Newman in his trouble and 


anxiety. In reference to this suggestion he wrote to his 
friend Sister Imelda Poole: ^^ Birmingham: Nov . 25j l85I . 

'Just now is a most critical time, since you ask, but for 
what I know the crisis was over yesterday, and bef ore ^ this 
letter goes we may know about it. We have an exposition 
of the Blessed Sacrament on the matter this 'evening^ 

'What is going on is an attempt at a Compromise. . . . 
Thus I have not known whether to write to you at once 
,or wait. Perhaps it is refused, and then there is urgent 
need of a triduo. ... 

'The need, if it is refused, for a triduo, is that we all may 
have strength to bear God's blessed will. To-morrow we 
begin a Novena to the Holy Ghost for that object. Your 
good Mother may if she will, and I will thank her, add the 
intention of my deliverance from the snare of the hunter, but 
let the main intention be, that we that I, may have fortitude, 
patience, peace, to bear His sweet will withal. 

'Since the middle of August I have been saying with 
St. Andrew, " bona crux, diu desiderata." I was going to 
bring mention of it into my concluding lecture, but found 
it would not be in keeping and now it is coming as we 
approach St. Andrew's Day. 

'You will see I expect the matter will go on. I hope, 
I pray it will not. I may be fanciful, but I cannot divest 
myself of the notion that it will. I have anticipated evil 
from the first: i.e. if it can be called evil. Anyhow it is no 
harm to offer myself in expectation and in will, a sacrifice to 
Him who bore the judgment seat and the prison of the 
unbeliever. Lawyers tell me that the chance is, I shall have 
a year's imprisonment. 

'Everything has gone so wonderfully hitherto as if our 
dear Lord were taking the matter into His own hands, and 
utterly destroying all human means. He has let me be 
bound as in a net, and, as I said to Sister M. Agnes 
Philomena near three months ago, with intense conviction, 
nothing but prayer can break the bond. It will be prayer 
has unlocked the fetter if we can say " Laqueus contritus est; 
et nos liberati sumus." 

'When it flashed on my mind at the beginning of 
September that I might go to prison, I said, "May I come 
out a Saint!" I don't say that now when things are more 
real, but, "May it be accepted for my sins." I have all my 
life been speaking aboutt suffering for the Truth, now it has 
come upon me.' 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 287 

To Mr. Capes he wrote thus: 

'Nov. 27/51. 

'The series of strange occurrences connected with this 
matter it is impossible to convey to any one who is not with me. 
If the devil raised a physical whirlwind, rolled me up in sand, 
whirled me round, and then transported me some thousands of 
miles, it would not be more strange, though it would be more 
imposing a visitation. I have been kept in ignorance and 
suspense; incomprehensibly, every now and then a burst of 
malignant light showing some new and unexpected prospect. 

'This morning, when I thought a negotiation for a com- 
promise coming on, suddenly I have a letter not even 
alluding to this, but saying the trial is to come on in 
February, and that Mr. Harting, the Cardinal's Lawyer, is 
to go abroad in two days to get evidence. 

'Last week I was whirled up to Town by telegraphic 
despatch to be told that the Attorney General had quite 
taken us in, and that we were to have no time granted us, 
whereas he assured us of a period till Easter Term to answer 
Achillas affidavit 

'For three months I have been soliciting information from 
abroad but I can't get people even to write to me. . . . 

'All this shows it is God's hand I have abundance of 
prayers I shall have more. If people would but have be- 
lieved me three months ago, it had been well but they laughed 
at my fears but all is well, victory or defeat. The Church 
is never more dangerous than when she seems helpless.' 

The compromise was refused by the other side, and 
Newman announces the fact in a letter to Hope-Scott: 

'Nov. 30, 1851. 

'There is no settlement, but a fight, as Badeley and I, 
not to say you, expected. It is a great comfort to be out 
of suspense, and out of responsibility on the point. Another 
comfort in the last three days is, that money seems to be 
amply forthcoming. A number of persons have undertaken 
to guarantee the expenses and have opened an account. And 
a third cause of satisfaction and thankfulness is, that docu- 
ments have come from Rome. They promise well, if they 
are received in Court. The lawyer employed, Mr. Harting, 
goes off to-morrow there is abundance of evidence, but the 
difficulty is bringing it across the Continent,' 

Further good news is told to Sister Imelda in January: 


'January g, 1852. 

'Your prayers and those of other good friends are telling. 
It is but a beginning, still it gives hope. We have prevailed 
on one woman to come unless she changes her mind. How 
necessary then is prayer! Prayer alone can do anything 
it is like the uplifting of Moses' hands in battle. I write 
this in gratitude to you but withal, if I may say it, in 

'The news came to us on the last day of a No vena which 
we were holding here to St. Anthony for the discovery of 
sufficient witnesses. I do trust he and other Saints will 
continue to hear us else, we are done for. The more we 
advance, the more, by one false step or omission, we may 
lose. As I told Sister Mary Agnes months ago, that if 
I failed, I should say "It's all those idle nuns/' so, if I 
succeed, through God's mercy, I shall say, "It's all those 
good, zealous, persevering nuns.'" 

The suggestion of the Dominicans at Stone that they 
should pray before the Image of Our Lady for his success 
in the law Courts received a very characteristic reply alike 
in its simple faith and in its caution against over-confident 
hope for a visible interposition of Providence. The nuns 
did not wholly appreciate the caution, and criticised the son 
of St. Philip Neri for his scepticism, to which Newman had 
to plead guilty. He urged however the plea of justification : 

( I smiled/ he writes to Sister Imelda on January 12, c at 
the cleverness with which you are attempting to get up a 
miraculous Image in England. Now as to your proposal, 
I have this difficulty, that it is taxing our Blessed Lady 
unfairly not her power, but her willingness. For observe, 
you are asking no public benefit of her. The Church will 
be quite enough vindicated if I gain a moral victory, not a 
legal and this I have ever thought most probable. I have 
ever thought it probable that I should demolish the poor 
man, and yet be found " guilty" myself. I have thought so, 
first because it is fitting I should not demolish him without my 
own suffering; and moreover (remarkable it is and I could 
say more about it) just a year ago, in a sermon I preached at 
the Cathedral and afterwards published, I said by anticipation 
that I should be content with the bargain of getting off badly 
myself, if my cause prospered. Moreover, humanly speaking, 
this must be, for if I fail in proving against him any one of the 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 289 

many things I have said, I am found guilty. On the other 
hand, since Achilli only did harm by being believed, if I succeed 
in showing his utter worthlessness, I have done what I aimed 
at i.e. it is enough for all public objects, as distinct from 
my own, if .1 gain a moral victory by proving several things 
distinctly against him. 

'Now what right have I, for the sake of my private ends, 
to put your Image on trial? It has done everything for 
you, because you have asked what you ought to ask. Now 
you wish me to ask a very hard thing, and that (in a way) 
selfishly, and you make me say to our Lady, "Do it, under 
pain of your Image losing its repute." 

'Now I do want light thrown upon this. I assuredly 
have a simple faith in the omnipotence of her intercession 
and I know well (not to say my Lord expressly tells me) 
that we can not ask too much, so that we are but impor- 
tunate and unwearied in asking. Still it is just possible, 
and rather more than possible, that it is His blessed will 
that I should suffer and though I don't think so quite so 
much as I did, yet somehow at first sight I do not like to 
be unkind, if I may use such a word to your Image. 

'I wish Reverend Mother to think over this difficulty 
and I shall expect her answer to be a serious and honest 
one without thought of me/ 

To the same correspondent he writes two days later: 

'I will not get you into any more scrapes with Reverend 
Mother. I gladly avail myself of her offer, and promise 
that if her Madonna gains my acquittal I will gladly come to 
Clifton, preach a sermon in her honour, and, if it is consistent 
with your rules, carry her in procession.' 

To the Reverend Mother herself he writes: 

'Thank you with all my heart for what you are so kindly 
intending to gain for me. 

'Thank you also for the reproof you have administered 
to me. I know well I am an unbelieving old beast; and so 
perhaps in this instance. Recollect, however, dear Reverend 
Mother, that our House in Birmingham is erected under 
the Invocation of the Immaculate Mother of God, as be- 
seems an Oratory of St. Philip and is dedicated to her for 
ever, and that you will not please her by abusing him' 

The success of Miss Giberne in bringing witnesses was an 
immense relief to Newman, But it was immediately followed 
VOL. i. L 


by fresh anxiety. The enemy got wind of the arrival of the 
witnesses, and postponed the trial. The witnesses had to be 
kept indefinitely at Newman's expense, and money was not 
abundant. He writes to Sister Imelda: 

'March 7/52. 

'I wish I could give you good news. It is sad to think 
how many prayers, how much money, I am exacting but 
the prayers do good in some way or other, while the money 
apparently makes to itself wings, and vanishes. 

'When our opponents found that we had good witnesses, 
they, who had been in such breathless haste up to that moment, 
and had refused me a moment, so precioxis was Achilli's 
character, took just the opposite course. They put off the 
trial we find they can do so for eight months meanwhile 
our witnesses are costing 401. a week and wish to go. . . . 
Hitherto my opponents have had the face to say that / am 
delaying it with the fact of the expense of my witnesses 
before them. Yet Achilli's solicitors who do all this are 
highly respectable men. Is it not wonderful? ' 

Five weeks later he hoped that the delay was at an end, 
and wrote on April 16 to Sister Imelda: 

'The trial will come on the beginning of May; that is 
one comfort for which we should be thankful. Now your 
Madonna must do her part for still I am haunted with 
the idea that the Church will gain and I suffer. Still I have 
prayed for absolute success and triumph/ 

Yet another delay came, and the trial was not until June. 
Meanwhile the Irish campaign to be described later had 
begun. The lectures on the 'Scope and Nature of University 
Education' were written, and the first was delivered in the 
Rotunda at Dublin on May 10, the second following a week 
later. Hard work, many trials and anxieties, and consider- 
able incidental success accompanied this enterprise, which will 
be more fully described later on. I only refer to it here in 
order to recall the strain on Newman's mind at a time when 
he most needed rest, and leisure to concentrate his attention 
on one subject. 

The Dublin discourses were concluded on June 7. 

On June 21 the trial began. The court was crowded, 
and the trial lasted five days, until June 25. Lord Campbell 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 291 

was the judge; Sir Alexander Cockburn was Newman's 
principal counsel, assisted by Mr. Serjeant Wilkins and Mr. 
Badeley; while for the plaintiff appeared the Attorney- 
General and the Solicitor-General. 

Called into the box, Achilli denied all the charges 
against him. He adhered to his statement that he was 
condemned by the Inquisition on grounds of doctrine. The 
following account of the ex-friar as he appeared in the 
witness-box is taken from a contemporary writer: 

'He is a plain-featured, middle-sized man, about fifty 
years of age, and his face is strongly Italian. His forehead 
is low and receding, his nose prominent, the mouth and the 
muscles around it full of resolution and courage. He wears 
a black wig, the hair of which is perfectly straight, and being 
close shaved, this wig gives to his appearance a certain air of 
the conventicle. Yet he retains many traces of the Roman 
Catholic priest, especially in his bearing, enunciation, and 
features, which have a sort of stealthy grace about them. 
His eyes are deep-set and lustrous, and with his black hair, 
dark complexion, and sombre, demure aspect, leaves an im- 
pression on the mind of the observer by no means agreeable, 
and not readily to be forgotten. The questions put to him 
by his own counsel he answered with great clearness, and 
in a calm, unwavering, quiet manner, without any trace of 
strong excitement, or feelings deeply roused. Sometimes 
a slight, contemptuous smile accompanied his denials of 
opposing evidence, and once or twice he even seemed to 
treat points merrily. Yet at certain portions of Ms examin- 
ation, without losing his self-possession, he became more 
animated. His dark, sunken eyes flashed fire as he listened 
and replied to the questions put. This was particularly 
the case when he was cross-examined by Sir Alexander 
Cockburn on the more material points of the libel, and 
especially when he was confronted by the Italian women 
who had sworn that he had debauched them. The effect 
produced by the meetings was quite dramatic, the poor 
women eyeing their alleged seducer with half-timid, yet 
steady glances, while he, his face overcome for the moment 
with a slight pallor, turned upon them looks that seemed to 
pierce through them. 3 

The case as it proceeded was resolved into a question of 
perjury. On the one hand was Dr. Achilli, who said that 


Ms record was a clean one; on the other was a crowd 
of people who testified to his acts of gross immorality. 
Achilli had all to gain; the opposing witnesses had all to 
lose. Many of them were now respectably married; it was 
only reasonable, as Sir Alexander Cockburn pointed out, to 
believe their evidence, because the fact of their being married 
was enough to have prevented their coming forward had not 
their stories been true. Again, they were many, and their 
evidence was not shaken. Against their mass of testimony, 
against facts admittedly proved which established the plea 
that Achilli was not worthy credence, there was nothing but 
his bare word. It speaks ill for the jury system of this 
country to say that the verdict on June 25 was for the 
plaintiff. The judge summed up with an obvious and 
flagrant bias, and thanked God that there was no Inquisition 
in this country his remark being received with roars of 
applause. The jury found that of the twenty-three justifi- 
catory charges put forward by the defence, only one had 
been proved viz. that Achilli had been deprived of his 
professorship and forbidden to preach. The remaining 
twenty-two 'were not proved to their satisfaction/ and 
Dr. Newman was accordingly found guilty of libel. 

In a leading article the Times spoke of the three days 3 
proceedings as 'indecorous in their nature, unsatisfactory in 
their result, and little calculated to increase the respect 
of the people for the administration of justice or the esti- 
mation by foreign nations of the English name and char- 
acter. 3 

'We consider/ the article added, 'that a great blow has 
been given to the administration of justice in this country, 
and that Roman Catholics will henceforth have only too 
good reason for asserting that there is no justice for them in 
cases tending to arouse the Protestant feelings of judges and 
juries. 3 These remarks represent the opinion of the educated 

Dr. Achilli was no longer in the public eye an innocent 
martyr whose testimony against Romanism was unimpeach- 
able. Evidence which could not in a moment prevail with the 
jury against the wonderful anti-Catholic bigotry of the time 
gradually sank into the public mind and had its effect. Even 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 293 

apart from his past life in Italy, there were the strongest 
proofs that Achilli had continued since his arrival in 
England to disgrace himself. One after another the 
servant girls at the houses in which he had lodged quite 
recently, gave evidence against him. 1 The jury would not 
believe them. But the public did. Achilli's teeth were 
drawn; he ceased to be an effective champion of the 
Protestant religion; and he shortly disappeared from the 
public view. 

Newman wrote to Sister Imelda on the day on which the 
verdict was given : 

'June 25, 1852. 

'You see how Almighty Wisdom has determined things. 
I trust however we have got a good deal by the trial, i.e. have 
proved our case to the satisfaction of the world though I 
suppose when November comes and I am brought up for 
judgment I shall suffer, but this is in God's hands. Do not 
think I am cast down about it; your prayers and penances 
cannot be lost. 3 

To the Reverend Mother he wrote two days later: 

In gaining so many prayers, I gain an inestimable benefit. 
Whoever loses, I gain. I went on saying to the last moment, 
"I will not believe, till I see it, that our Lady and St. Philip 
will suffer it" and now I am quite sure it is only for some 
greater good. It is quite impossible it should be otherwise. 
Already there is but one opinion, that Catholics have been 
unfairly dealt with. When I came down here, I feared there 
might be a mob about the chapel. Nothing of the land 
the ultra Protestant publisher, Ragg, has not even put up in 
his windows any notice about Achilli and me. 

'Mary is taking the best way, depend upon it, for our 
victory. My only flaw is, lest desperation should carry on 
our enemies to still more flagrant acts. They talked of 
prosecuting our witnesses for perjury when I was in London I 
and I was advised to go off to France! I did send the poor 
Italians off to France directly. They can only account for 
my many witnesses, by calling it a conspiracy of priests, and 
that I have bribed them all; but every one sees through it.' 

1 The text of the evidence of these girls is given in Mr. Finlayson's volume, 
The Achilli Trial. 


'My only pain/ he writes on the same day to Sister Mary 
Agnes Philip Moore, 'is that of reading the too kind letters 
of my friends and that I assure you is real pain. 

'Last November when I had before me a boundless 
ocean of expense, responsibility, and trouble, and in February 
again, when the horizon was indefinitely removed from me, 
then I felt pain but I have no pain at all now. When 
Nftvember comes, for what I know, I may have pain for a 
day or two, but I cannot tell. I am sure so many prayers 
ought to make me better, and I am sensible they do not 
and this is pain but it is not the trial and its consequences 
that pain me. For twenty years I have been writing in verse 
and prose about suffering for the Truth's sake, and I have no 
right to complain, if, after having almost courted the world's 
injustice, I suffer it.' 

He keeps the kind sisters constantly in mind, and writes 
again giving reasons why they should not be disappointed at 
his conviction. 

'July 4, 1852. 

'My dear Sister Imelda, I hope none of you are moping. 
Every day makes me more clear that the issue of my matter 
is what it should be. E.g. our great and awful difficulty is 
the expense, say 6,oooZ.? Sympathy is doing for me here, 
what success would" not have done. Perhaps we shall have a 
penny subscription among Catholics on the Continent. 

'I am not certain that I shall not be obliged even yet to 
confess that your Madonna has got me off. If I am not 
called up to judgment I shall consider that she has, and shall 
feel myself bound to present myself at Clifton. 

'Ever yours, 


His letters to other friends show unmistakably that his 
feeling was one of relief and in some degree of a victory 

'I was prospered,' he writes to Mr. W. Froude, c (i) in 
getting witnesses, (2) in keeping them, (3) in their lucid ex- 
position of my case on the trial, which, as the lawyers said, 
was without a flaw, (4) in the consequent conviction of the 
public mind. What want I more but a grateful heart? ' 

Again to the same correspondent: 

'I am inheriting the lot of Catholics to suffer and to 
triumph. Did I not refer you to my words said fifteen years 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 295 

ago, repeated a year (to the day) before the beginning of 
this affair, that I had parted with the world that I was 
prepared for its worst and should triumph through it. 7 

And to W. G. Ward he writes: 

' Thank you for your kind letter. It confirmed what I 
hear from every quarter. 

'Suspense is painful and for the two last days of the 
trial I was in suspense. Since then, I have not had a 
shadow of uneasiness, as every one who has seen me will tell 

'I doubt not we shall see that what has happened is 
under the circumstances the completes^ triumph.' 

It was at this moment that the first Synod of Oscott was 
held, and Newman preached on July 13 his famous sermon, 
'The Second Spring, 3 in which he celebrated the establish- 
ment of the new hierarchy. There can be little doubt that 
his own recent suffering gave edge to his words and feelings. 
A church newly organised amid trial and persecution had 
favourable omens. He may have doubted the worldly 
wisdom of making the hierarchy, but he saw in the troubles 
of the time the signs of God's blessing for it. He writes 
to Henry Wilberforce on July 18: 'We ended the Synod 
yesterday in great triumph, joy, and charity/ 

The belief that he had triumphed did not prevent a great 
deal of anxiety as to meeting the enormous costs of his 
protracted litigation. 'And the worst of all is/ he adds 
in a letter on the subject to Mother Margaret Hallahan, 
'I am not a bit the better for all this trouble and seem 
to have no strength given me to bear it. So you see I 
really do need your prayers very much and thank you for 

To Sister. Mary Imelda Poole he writes on October 3 : 

'It is impossible to say how my matter will turn out. 
Every day brings a different view, and it is this suspense and 
change of prospect which is the trial. It is like having the 
pupil of the eye exposed to a shifting light, now strong, now 
dim, now darkness, and then blaze again. So far however 
is clear that, as far as the affair has gone } we really have had 


our prayers answered. I told you In March I was to borrow 
3?000 ; ail d I recollect saying "Well, I trust by Christmas 
I shall raise it." Well, I have raised double by Michaelmas 
and there is a moral certainty that, if I am not called up 
to judgment I shall soon have raised the whole. As far as 
things have gone all the money is raised. What is not raised 
is the 200/. consequent upon being called up to judgment. 
But this is future, and not realised. If it be God's will I 
should not be called up, I really have triumphed. I have no 
debt, no inconvenience, and as to the verdict, why, every one 
believes me right, and the judge and jury wrong and we 
did not give Masses and prayers that judge and jury should 
not make fools of themselves. I say then, as yet, no harm 
has been realized it is all in future. So your prayers have 
not failed hitherto. Continue them as you do.' 

Again, to the same correspondent he writes on the 

'Since I wrote, I have had occasion after a year's interval 
to consult the medical adviser who for twenty five years has 
served me. He has often been a prophet, and has cured me 
in illnesses when others have quite failed. 

'He now tells me distinctly I shall have a premature old 
age, and an early death because the only thing which can 
save me is a simple lying by. He says my brain and nerves 
cannot bear it. This makes me say that I can promise 
nothing it is the preparation and expectation that tease me. 
He says I have nothing the matter with me at present, but 
that my vital powers are so low that mischief might take 
place at any time and that nothing can keep me up but 
tonics. I feel the truth of what he says. The first book I wrote, 
my " Arians," I was almost fainting daily, when I was finishing 
it and (except my Parochial Sermons) every book I have 
written, before and since I was a Catholic, has been a sort of 
operation, the distress has been so great. The Irish Dis- 
courses, now (thank God) all but finished, have been the most 
painful of all.' 

On November 18 he went up to London for judgment, 
which was to be on the 22nd. He writes to Mr. Ornsby on 
the day that he has medical affidavits that imprisonment has 
'a fair chance of killing' him. 'Perhaps/ he adds, 'Johnny 
Campbell may wish to be Jack the Giant-killer. 7 He stayed 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 297 

in London with Lord Arundel and Surrey the future Duke 
of Norfolk at Carlton House Terrace. Then Sir Alexander 
Cockburn unexpectedly suggested that he should apply for a 
new trial; and the proceedings in Court on the occasion are 
graphically narrated in a letter to Sister Imelda: 

Edgbaston: November 28/52. 

'When I got up to London on Friday (the igth) I found 
to my great disgust that the lawyers had had a consultation 
the evening before, and were for attempting a new trial; a 
second was to be held the next day (the 2oth) at which I 
was to be present. They put the matter into my hands, and 
I suspect fancied I should be eager for it; but were thrown 
on their backs by finding I was simply against it. I did not 
observe this at the time, but, since they deferred to me, I 
thought I had it all my own way, and congratulated myself 
when the consultation was over, that the idea of a new trial 
was at an end. I got ready my speech, and packed up my 
portmanteau ready for prison, if so be knowing I should 
be carried thither from court. Also my friends in King 
William Street packed up an altar and vestments and Father 
St. John, who was with me, got leave from the Cardinal for 
my saying Mass in prison. 

'All Sunday I had friends calling on me everything was 
arranged. Meanwhile all Sunday Badeley was importuning 
me for a new trial; but I made no account of this, as I 
thought the matter simply in my hands, (as it was technically, 
but I mean, morally). 

'When we got into Court on Monday the 22nd, Sir A. 
Cockburn (my leading counsel) leant over the back of my 
bench, for I sat under him, and said, "Well, new trial or 
not?" I thought he asked for form's sake, and that he knew 
quite well there was to be none; so I answered briefly "Not" 
Then I heard him grumbling behind me, and began to 
suspect that he and the rest had got up their speeches and 
their tactics with a view to moving for a new trial. He then 
spoke to me a second time to the effect that he had looked 
at the evidence, and could make something of it. I repeated 
"No." Then Serjeant Wilkins, another of my counsel, 
attacked me. Money was no object, he said, he would pledge 
himself to go about begging from Protestants he would take 
no fees himself. I said, "No." I found he had been up half 
the night getting up the evidence. 


'Presently the judges came in, and Cockburn leant over 
again. "You have now," he said, "a last chance, Yes or No?" 
I answered "No," and he went out of Court. I had sitting 
near me Serjeant Bellasis, who was the only lawyer (he was 
not one of rny counsel) who had agreed with me in opposing 
a new trial. I said to him, "Well, it's all over, is it not? 7 ' 
He said, "Yes." 

'Cockburn when he went out of Court spoke to 
Mr. Badeley, who, as you know, has been my most zealous 
and active counsel from the first. "We can make nothing 
of Dr. Newman/ 3 he said, "you must persuade Mm." He 
came accordingly to Serjeant Bellasis. Now Serjeant 
Bellasis had all along said, "I agree with ^ you quite, in 
opposing the idea of a new trial but, when it comes to the 
point, if they persist, you must yield." The Cardinal too, 
who, with the Bishop of Southwark, had confirmed my own 
view of the matter, had ended by saying, "Well if your 
lawyers persist you must obey them as you would physicians." 
At this moment then, Badeley came to Serjeant Bellasis and 
said, "Dr. Newman must give way, all his five counsel are for 
a new trial." On this Serjeant Bellasis, who was sitting next 
me, turned round to me, and said, "You cannot resist longer 
you must give in." I said, "Is there no one else to ask? 
What a terrible thing to decide upon by myself." We looked 
round there was no one. "Well, but," I said, " Tis too late. 
You told me so just now." He answered "It is not too late." 
Then I said "I give in let them move for a new trial." 

' Accordingly when the notes of the trial had all been read, 
a tiresome matter of three hours and a half, Cockburn got up. 
Lord Campbell thought he was going to speak, in mitigation 
of damages, and affecting (if I may use the word) con- 
sideration for me, he said, "Sir Alexander, Dr. Newman's 
affidavit don't omit his affidavit." " My lord," he answered, 
"I am giving reasons for granting us a Rule for a new trial." 
I did not look at the poor old man, but had I any resentment 
against him, alas at that moment, and in the rest of the 
proceedings, it would have been gratified to the very full. He 
changed colour, shook, and his voice trembled. A military 
friend who was at my elbow said his head quivered as though 
he had been shot in the ear. Serjeant Bellasis said to me, 
"Do you see how Campbell is agitated?" And, I repeat, 
for the rest of the time (two or three hours) he had to endure 
a lengthened attack upon him face to face, from Sir 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 299 

Alexander Cockburn, who thrust at Ms conduct in the most 
determined pitiless way in the survey of the whole trial. 
Nor is it the only attack he will have to stand. The 
opposite counsel reply in January, and then we rejoin and 
my other lawyers have one after another to rise, and to 
inflict the same castigation upon him. 

'It is generally considered that the whole affair is at an 
end. / should say so, except from my knowledge of the 
special hatred my opponents bear me, which has been present 
to my mind from the first. Next the course of Providence 
all through has been so dark, that we never have been able 
to guess at what was coming. When I went up to town last 
week, no one even then could guess anything. The future 
was as dark up to the 22nd, as it had been throughout. No 
one could conjecture what the punishment would be. The 
lawyers all in the dark, asked Sir A. Cockburn at the con- 
sultation he would not hazard any guess. 1 I have affidavits 
from Sir B. Brodie, Mr. Babington, and Dr. Evans that a 
prison would have most serious effects upon my health. I 
swore in my own affidavit, that I believed from what I was 
told, that it would shorten my life yet they could not bring 
themselves to say absolutely that I should not be sent to 
prison. This being the case, there may still be quite a new 
turn of things in January. 

' However, if the Rule for a new trial is granted me, the great 
probability is, that the whole matter will end. Because in that 
case the four judges will have decided that the verdict was 
against the ^evidence, in other words that I ought not to have 
been so condemned. People say that Achilla cannot recom- 
mence proceedings with such a recorded judgment against him. 

'Again, I believe he will be incidentally found guilty of 

'Again he owes his lawyers nooJ., which he had meant 
me to pay, and they may be unwilling to go on without 
security for the money and his friends may not like to 
recommence, when they shall have already committed 
themselves to so large a sum. 

'If I were simply to beat him, he would have all my 

'-But, if he does begin a new trial, then I have two courses. 

'If I cannot get money, or cannot get the witnesses, I 
should make affidavit that this is the case and submit 
when lawyers say no punishment could ensue after such an 
exposure as will have taken place. 


'But if I can get the witnesses, the expense will be com- 
paratively small For I can bring them to a day, and I shall 
know just whose evidence is worth bringing. 

'If on the other hand the judges in January do not allow 
me a fresh trial (every one thinks they will) then I 
shall be brought up for judgment as I was last Monday but 
with this advantage that we shall have done what we could, 
and that my counsel will have been able to attack Campbell 
and expose the verdict; which they say, must lessen the 

Tray for me and believe me, 

'Yours affectionately in Christ, 


On December 16 Newman consented, at James Hope- 
Scott's invitation, to pass some weeks at Abbotsford while 
waiting for the final issue. He had a great feeling for Sir 
Walter Scott. 'When he was dying/ he writes to Hope- 
Scott, 'I was saying prayers (whatever they were worth) for 
him continually, thinking of Keble's words: "Think on the 
minstrel as ye kneel. 37 ' 

On January 22, 1853, ^hz application for a new trial, 
which had been argued for a fortnight, was concluded, the 
decision being reserved. Newman was still at Abbotsford, 
and in his diary he chronicles a visit that day, in company 
with his host and Lord Arundel (afterwards Duke of 
Norfolk) to Melrose Abbey. He returned to the Oratory 
on the 25th, and on the 26th Lord Campbell announced the 
refusal of a new trial. On the 28th Newman went to town, 
to join Ambrose St. John, who had preceded him, for a final 
consultation with the Attorney-General, driving with Bellasis, 
to meet Monsell, Allies, and Badeley. 

On January 31 came the closing scene. W. G. Ward, 
who was at this time still intimate with Newman, drove him 
down to the Court. With them came Serjeant Bellasis and 
William Monsell, afterwards Lord Emly. Sir George Bowyer, 
Mr. Browne (afterwards Earl of Kenmare), Mr. (afterwards 
Lord) Fitzgerald, and Mr. H. Bowden followed with Ambrose 
St. John. The result proved what had been expected. The 
complete humiliation of Lord Campbell by a new trial had it 
is true been refused on technical grounds. But the Court did 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 301 

not venture on imprisonment. The most that was attempted 
was a lecture from Mr. Justice Coleridge to which the 
etiquette of the Court did not allow Newman to reply to 
the effect that he (Newman) was much changed for the 
worse since he had become a papist and that the charges 
against Achilli were very probably exaggerated. Newman 
wrote to Sister Imelda the same evening and chronicled the 

* London: Jan. 31, 1853. 

& I have been fined ioo/., and imprisoned till the fine was 
paid which of course meant no imprisonment at all. I 
have not heard opinions, but my friends present think it a 
triumph. I had a most horrible jobation from Coleridge, of 
which the theme was " deterioration of converts/' I had been 
everything good when I was a Protestant but I had fallen 
since I was a Catholic. They would not let me speak. 

' Thank you for all I have gained by your prayers. 
Every kind thought of Reverend Mother and your whole 

As to the judgment/ he writes to Mrs. Froude, c it is 
quite true that Coleridge said about me all that was reported. 
He spoke very low, really (I think) from agitation but I 
must ever think that he committed a great mistake and 
impertinence in what he said. He made me subserve his 
Puseyite theory, and held me up as a i spectacle" how men 
deteriorate when they become Catholics. His speech was 
full of mistakes and inconsistencies, if I chose to expose it. 
He simply misstated facts, as everyone would grant, directly 
it was pointed out. But I really think he thought he was 
performing a duty; so, what can one say? I have reason to 
know that his brother judges were surprised, if not annoyed, 
by what he said. In one respect the Times' Report was not 
correct. He gave up the Jury, and said the Judges would 
have granted a new trial, if by the Law they could have done 
so, Every one considers it a triumph.' l 

1 To Mr. Capes he wrote on February 5 *. 

'I could not help being amused at poor Coleridge's prose. I have no doubt 
it gave him pain, and I think he wished to impress me. I trust I behaved respect- 
fully, but he must have seen that I was as perfectly unconcerned as if I had been 
in my own room. But so it was. Putting aside supernatural views and motives, 
(of which, alas 1 1 have not overmuch), mere habit, as in the case of the skinned 
eels, would keep me from being annoyed. I have not been the butt of slander 
and scorn for 20 years for nothing.' 


But a fresh heavy sorrow came to mar the relief he felt 
at the termination of his long drawn-out anxiety. Father 
Joseph Gordon, as we have seen, had been especially active 
in endeavouring to procure evidence on the trial, and had 
gone to Italy for this object. On the very day of the applica- 
tion for a new trial, he was taken ill, never to recover the 
first death in the Oratorian community. 

On February 6 Newman visited Father Joseph at Bath 
and took leave of him. There was no hope of recovery, and 
a fortnight later came the sad news that he had passed away. 
The blow was a heavy one, and Newman seems to have felt 
it as filling the cup of his trials and troubles. All that 
remained of the elasticity of youth seemed now to have left 

'I am just going to sing a solemn Mass for the soul of 
our dearest Father Joseph Gordon,' he writes to Spencer 
Northcote on February 14, 'the news of whose death came 
by telegraph at ten last night, You may think in what grief 
we all are. . . . God's will be done. It is quite taking away 
the Spring of our year, but St. Philip knows what he is 
about. When I was engaged in building this house, I kept 
saying "Now mind me, we shall have crosses to take up for 
so fine a place" and we have had a succession so great, that 
we alone can understand them. We talked of the chance 
of bereavement I think with dear Father Joseph little 
thinking it would be he. 3 

To Henry Wilberforce he writes a few days later: 

' Father Gordon's death is the greatest blow that the 
Congregation has ever had the greatest I have had a long 
time. It comes in cumulum upon so many other trials. 
What a year and a half I have had! When will the strokes 
end? I recollect in 1826 when I was serving Rickards's 
Church at Ulcombe during the long vacation, after a most 
glorious Summer, there was a week of pouring rain, and then 
it was fine again and the sky as radiant for weeks as before. 
But the season was changed the ground had been 
thoroughly chilled, and never recovered itself. Autumn had 
unequivocally set in, and the week of wet divided the two 
seasons as by a river. And so I think I have now passed 
into my autumn, though I trust Grace will more than make 
up for me what Nature takes away.' 

THE ACHILLI TRIAL (1851-1853) 303 

And now there came from the whole Catholic world 
a wonderfully universal expression of sympathy for the 
champion who had suffered in the good cause. The general 
feeling was that the Achilli trial had completed what the 
Corn Exchange lectures began in shaking to its foundations 
the anti-Catholic bigotry of the time. Educated Englishmen 
were more and more ashamed of being identified with Lord 
Campbell and his jury. A Mass of thanksgiving for the issue 
of the trial was sung at the Oratory on February 21, at 
which Newman himself preached. On April 3 he stayed with 
W. G. Ward at Old Hall, to receive an address from St. Ed- 
mund's College the first of many similar congratulations. 
The whole i2,ooo/., the costs and expenses of the trial, which 
was a millstone round Newman's neck, was promptly paid by 
his co-religionists; and the letters which accompanied their 
gifts brought home to him how universal had been the 
support he had had throughout in the warm interest and 
constant prayers of thousands. That delicate nature which 
shrank under pain and was worn out with anxiety and 
suspense, opened out in affectionate response to a practical 
sympathy so far beyond his expectations. 

The following letter to an American archbishop Dr. 
Kenrick of Baltimore is a type of many written in grateful 
acknowledgment : 

'December 3, 1852. 

'I think I recollect the saying of a heathen sage, to the 
effect that the most perfect polity was that in which an injury 
done to the humblest citizen, was felt as a blow dealt to the 
whole community; but how much nobler a conception do I 
see fulfilled to-day when an individual, whose claim on 
Catholics is not that of a citizen, but of a stranger, who has 
but come (as it were) to their hearth, and embraced their 
altars, and appealed to their hospitality, is raised by the hand, 
and lifted out of his distress, as if he had been all his life 
long of the number of the cives sanctorum et domestici Dei. 

'But I have touched upon a higher theme, Hospes eram et 
collegistis me. It is not I who am the real object of the 
bounty of Catholics; nor is gratitude, such as mine, its true 
reward. Let me venture to say it; they have been serving 
Him Who accepts as done to Himself mercies bestowed upon 
even the weakest of His disciples; and they have been 


securing a recompense from the just Judge who never suffers 
Himself to be outdone in the interchange of offices of love.' 

He was preparing for press the lectures which he had 
delivered in Dublin just before the trial, and now, as a 
memorial for all time of Catholic generosity, he wrote in the 
first page the following dedication : 

Hospes eram et collegistis me. 

In grateful never-dying remembrance 

Of his many friends and benefactors, 

Living and dead, 

At home and abroad, 

In Great Britain, Ireland, France, 

In Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy, and Malta, 

In North America, and other countries, 

Who, by their resolute prayers and penances, 

And by their generous stubborn efforts 

And by their munificent alms, 

Have broken for him the stress 

Of a great anxiety, 


Offered to Our Lady and St. Philip on its rise, 

Composed under its pressure, 

Finished on the eve of its termination, 

Are respectfully and affectionately inscribed 




WE have now to narrate in detail the inauguration of the 
scheme for founding a Catholic University in Ireland, to 
which reference was made in the last chapter. For Irish 
Catholics, who had had hitherto no University education, 
to found an efficient University was on the face of it an 
unpromising task. And the ablest and most cultivated 
members of the Irish clergy, men like Dr. Murray and 
Dr. Russell, as I have already said, regarded some modus 
vivendi with the Queen's Colleges as the only practicable 
course. But the Episcopate had declared against mixed 
education. And the strongest advocate of an uncompro- 
mising policy was the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr. Cullen, 
who was all-powerful in Rome. That policy had been for- 
mally adopted at the Synod of Thurles though only by the 
narrow majority of one. It was approved by Rome, and 
must at all costs be carried out. James Robert Hope-Scott 
(the James Hope of Oxford days) had property in Ireland 
and was a friend of Dr. Cullen. He advised the Archbishop 
to take counsel with Newman. 

What, we may ask, was the danger which so greatly 
alarmed the Irish Bishops and led the majority to adopt so 
uncompromising a policy? What was the meaning of their 
sudden and strenuous opposition to the mixed education' 
offered, largely from benevolence to Irish Catholics, by 
Peel in the Queen's Colleges? This question must be 
answered before we proceed with our narrative. I am not 
for the moment asking whether the Bishops were right or 
wrong in not accepting Peel's proposals; but what was the 
meaning of their acute alarm? There can be no doubt that 
it was something far deeper than the intrinsic nature of the 


proposals. It was the extreme uneasiness which the signs of 
the times created as to the future prospects of the Christian 
Church. Secularist education was suspected as part of an 
anti-Christian campaign. The movement speciously called 
'liberal' had been showing on the Continent ugly symptoms. 
Pius EX., as well as Lacordaire, had on some points tried to 
meet it half way and to give it an interpretation compatible 
with Christianity. They had been rudely awakened to its 
dangerous character. 

Many Englishmen now think of the change from the 
old denominational education by the clergy to the new un- 
denominational education by the specialists mainly as an 
advance in justice to all forms of religion and in the emanci- 
pation of educational methods from methods which were 
antiquated. They do not regard it as hostile to religion. But 
in point of fact (as we all know) the movement which effected 
. this transformation was largely anti-theological, and even, in 
some of its manifestations, anti-religious. If it included a 
sense of the justice of equal treatment for all creeds, and 
a sense of the liberty necessary for science, it also included 
some of the anti-Christian spirit of Continental liberalism. 
The Churches then, in turn, had to be on the defensive. Two 
ideals of education were competing the denominational 
or ecclesiastical, which threatened to be obscurantist; 
and the undenominational or scientific, which threatened 
to be irreligious. The proposed Queen's Colleges were 
inevitably associated in the minds of most persons with the 

And what was the concrete exhibition of the new move- 
ment which the Irish Bishops had before their eyes in the 
very years (1845-1850) during which the proposals as to the 
Queen's College were threshed out? They saw it in Oxford 
itself, as the rapid transition of its intellectual character from 
a religious and theological to a free-thinking tone. The 
Oxford of 1845 was conservative and ecclesiastical. The 
Heads of Houses were all clergymen. There were few lay- 
men even among the Fellows. The tests were in force. The 
theological party which condemned the mild liberalism of 
Dr. Hampden was still in the ascendant. The Oxford 
of 1850, on the other hand, was liberal and secularist. In 


1845, after Newman's secession, with dramatic suddenness 
theology went out and science came in as the ruling principle 
of the academic mind. 'We were startled/ says Mark 
Pattison, 'when we came to reflect that the vast domain of 
physical science had been hitherto wholly excluded from our 
programme. The great discoveries of the last half-century 
in chemistry, physiology, &c., were not even known by report 
to any of us. Science was placed under a ban by the 
theologians who instinctively felt that it was fatal to their 
speculations. .' This conception of science as fatal to Christian 
theology was the keynote of the sudden transformation 
which ensued. 'Whereas other reactions accomplished 
themselves by imperceptible degrees, in 1845 the darkness 
was dissipated and the light was let in in an instant.' 
A 'flood of reform' followed, 'which did not spend itself 
until it had produced two Government commissions, until 
we had . . . remodelled all our institutions. In those years 
every Oxford man was a liberal. ' x 

The suddenness and completeness of the triumph of the 
liberal movement in Oxford brought into relief the various 
elements of which it was composed. The secularising and 
anti-theological tendency, the agitation for the withdrawal of 
tests, the growth of specialism, were parts of a whole. The 
undenominational movement has been the practical expression 
of the liberal and scientific movement. And in the eyes 
of some leading men of science, and of many others, the 
transformation which has been effected in the nineteenth 
century from the old education by the parsons to the new 
education by the specialists has implied the recognition, 
to a greater or less extent, of the fact that the theological 
explanation of the world and of life has been defeated, 
and the scientific view has taken its place. 'I conceive, 7 
wrote Huxley, 'that the leading characteristic of the nine- 
teenth century has been the rapid growth of the scientific 
spirit, and consequent application of scientific methods of 
investigation to all problems with which the human mind is 
occupied, and the correlative rejection of traditional beliefs 
which have proved their incompetence to bear such inves- 
tigation.' Denominationalism is, in this view, narrow and 

1 See Mark Pattison's Memoirs, p. 238. 


retrograde, because it implies a check on the free development 
of the scientific method in the interests of traditions which 
are superstitions. 

A part of the change in intellectual tone at Oxford, as 
elsewhere, was in that indefinable quantity, the 'atmosphere' 
from the atmosphere of the Oxford of Newman to that of 
the Oxford of Jowett. But there were also some definite 
particulars in which the aggressions of science on the then 
existing theology affected the subjects with which professors 
and tutors had to deal in the educational programme. The 
following are a few well-known instances: 

(1) Biologists and ethnologists, even before the early 
evolutionists attacked the dogma of creation, had assailed 
the Scriptural account in Genesis of the descent of all men 
from a common ancestor. 

(2) So, too, geologists attacked what was generally 
received as the Bible's teaching concerning the antiquity of 
the world. 

(3) The empirical philosophy in the hands of Mill and 
Bain was in tendency anti-theistic. It attacked, both in 
ethics and metaphysics, the intuitionist basis of a theistic 
philosophy. Dr. Mclntosh of Queen's College, Belfast, one of 
J. S. Mill's chief opponents on this particular point, avowedly 
regarded his own lectures on philosophy as a religious work. 
This represented the opinion prevalent at all events up to 
3:870 that the 'experience' philosophy was in direct and 
necessary opposition to the philosophical basis of theism. 

(4) The philosophy of history was, in those days, a 
prominent subject and offered an obvious opportunity for 
insinuating an agnostic or naturalistic view of the world. 
Mr. Wyse contemplated its being taught at the Queen's 
Colleges. Mr. T. W. Allies actually did (later on) lecture on 
it at the 'Catholic University of Ireland.' The events of 
the French Revolution and the dramatic career of Napoleon 
had given a great stimulus to this study. Frederick Schlegel 
and Hegel, De Tocqueville and Guizot, Chateaubriand and 
the German Romanticists, were all in different ways wit- 
nesses to this tendency. The subject was dealt with, too, in 
different forms and degrees from a Catholic point of view 
in the writings of Lamennais, Bonald, Mohler, and Newman 


himself. It is clear that, while the critical study of history, 
in which the writer or professor is intent on the evidence 
for isolated facts, and is very sparing of generalisation, need 
not be contentious, the philosophy of history is almost 
inevitably so. One professor bases his whole account of the 
development of the Christian Church and of secular history 
on the naturalistic view which underlies the works of Gibbon 
and Hume; another treats the same subjects on such 
principles as those of Allies 7 Dublin lectures on the ' Forma- 
tion of Christendom.' Either treatment is likely to have a 
deep effect on the religious faith of a thoughtful young man. 

And so in fact it had. Such names as those of Matthew 
Arnold, Mark Pattison, Arthur Clough, and J. A. Froude 
remind us of a mental history which was typical of that of 
many others less known to fame. Aubrey de Vere writes to 
Sarah Coleridge in the forties that 'everyone is talking 
theology.' Everyone was defining his Weltanschauung. 
Such speculative conversations in the Oxford which was 
ruled by Newman's genius brought many to Tractarianism, 
many to Roman Catholicism, many to the views of Arnold 
and Whately. At a later time they landed very many in 
the various stages of freethought. The gradual spread of a 
secularist intellectual atmosphere did, as a matter of fact, 
help to destroy effectual belief in Christianity. 

The new secularist education was then suspect in the eyes 
of the Irish Bishops by reason of its results in England, and 
their suspicions were increased by the fact that in such 
countries as France and Belgium the undenominational 
Universities were avowedly free-thinking. Their fears were 
shared by some of the ablest and most religious men in the 
Church of England, and long survived in such representatives 
of the old conservative Oxford as Dean Goulburn and Dean 

The outcry raised that the Queen's University was 
'godless' was due to the fact that it was the first University 
established in the kingdom on a de jure non-religious basis. 
It was exaggerated, for, as Sir James Graham said, 'The 
Government contemplated the foundation of halls in 
which religious instruction would be imparted.' The 
Bishops, however, did not originate the cry. At first they 


only sought to make the religious safeguards adequate. 
They suggested four amendments the first demanding a 
fair proportion of Catholic professors, and guarantees of due 
influence for the Catholic Bishops in the appointment of pro- 
fessors; the second asking for dual chairs in history, logic, 
metaphysic, moral philosophy, geology, and anatomy; the 
third demanding the dismissal of any professor or office- 
bearer convicted of trying to undermine a student's faith; the 
fourth asking for a salaried dean or chaplain for each college. 

These amendments were in line with Peel's original 
plan as understood by such authorities as Dr. Delany and 
Dr. O'Dwyer so these two authorities testified before the 
Robertson Commission of 1901. But in the event Peel's 
scheme was not carried out. Neither the Bishops' nor 
Mr. Wyse's proposed amendments were accepted. And no 
other satisfactory means of ensuring due religious safe- 
guards was devised. At the very least the promise of 
Lord Clarendon that 'the Catholic religion will be fully and 
appropriately represented 5 in the appointment of professors 
in the Colleges of Cork and Galway seemed indispensable 
to the de Jacto predominance of Catholic influences which 
local circumstances demanded. In the event these assurances 
were not carried out partly owing to a change of Ministry. 
In Catholic Cork only three out of twenty professors belonged 
to the religion of the country. 

In this condition it may fairly be urged that the Bishops 
had a very real grievance. Still, in view of the vital neces- 
sity of University education for Irish Catholics, it is not 
surprising that a strong minority wished, nevertheless, under 
every disadvantage to try and work the colleges. The 
extreme measure which killed the colleges of visiting with 
canonical censures any priest who became officially connected 
with them was passed at the Synod of Thurles by a majority 
of one only, and much of the best intelligence of the episcopal 
bench was opposed to carrying the opposition -to the Queen's 
Colleges to a point which caused them to fail. 

Dr. Newman has stated, however, that in 1853 ^ e found 
the majority of Irish Bishops not at all alive to the importance 
of University education for Catholics. The policy which pre- 
vailed at the Synod of Thurles was that of what Newman 


used to call 'the political and devotional party' as opposed 
to the champions of intellectual interests the party of Dr. 
Cullen as opposed to that of Dr. Murray and Dr. Russell. 
Newman passed no judgment on their action; it was an ac- 
complished fact. But unquestionably his general sympathies 
were from the first with Dr. Russell and Dr. Moriarty (who 
was the living representative of Dr. Murray's views among 
the Bishops) rather than with Dr. Cullen. He did not share 
Dr. Cullen's dread of the whole modern scientific and liberal 
movement. The purely scientific aspect of the 'liberal' 
movement had, in his opinion, to be respectfully considered 
and Christianised. Even the directly secularist anti-clerical 
and irreligious aspect of the movement, which really drew 
its inspiration from anti-religious assumptions, was best 
counteracted not by mere repression, but by University 
training, at once religious and scientific. The Queen's 
Colleges excluded theology. Dr. Cullen seemed to dread 
freedom for science. Newman planned a University in which 
theology and science alike should be free and flourishing. 

Thus, while he accepted Dr. Cullen's invitation, it gradu- 
ally became clear that Newman materially differed from the 
Archbishop as to the direction of the work before him. His 
views will be more precisely indicated when we come to 
summarise his lectures and writings as Rector. For the 
moment let the external events be narrated in order. 

On April 15, 1851, Dr. Cullen wrote to request Dr. 
Newman to deliver some lectures in Dublin against mixed 
education. On July 8 he visited the Oratory and dis- 
cussed the subject further going also to London to confer 
with Mr. Monsell, Dr. Manning, and Mr. Hope-Scott. Dr. 
Cullen then asked Newman to be Rector of the proposed Uni- 
versity. Newman hesitated and took counsel. He wished 
at first, as I have said, to limit himself to the office of Pre- 
fect of Studies. But in the end he accepted the office of 
Rector. And the Irish Bishops, who met on November 12, 
passed a formal resolution inviting Newman to be Rector, 
It was agreed, as Cullen informed Newman by letter, 'that 
the summum imperium should be in the Bishops, and that 
the [Rector] should have the entire acting discretion. . . . 


No other appointment/ he adds, 'was made, as the selection 
of other persons is to be made with the concurrence, or on 
the recommendation, of the [Rector].' 

Newman accepted the post. With a keen sense that 
what came to him was sent by God, he threw himself into 
the work at once with energy. 1 He consented to give a 
course of lectures in Dublin the following year, and at once 
set about securing an efficient staff for the new University. 

His own feelings were evidently, even before the suc- 
cession of discouragements which followed, somewhat mixed. 
He saw at once that a scheme which was strongly opposed 
by the ablest ecclesiastic in Ireland, Archbishop Murray, 
of Dublin, and which aimed nevertheless at founding a 
University in Dr. Murray's own diocese, was a bold one. He 
tried unsuccessfully to see Dr. Murray when he went to Ireland 
in September to visit Dr. Cullen. Still the work was en- 
trusted to him by the hierarchy as a whole, and was under- 
taken in obedience to the Holy Father's wish. It came to him 
unsought. His antecedents fitted him for it. The thought 
could not but arise was the hand of Providence leading 
him on to a repetition in new surroundings of the great 
battle of the Oxford Movement? 

He writes as follows to Mrs. William Froude just a fort- 
night after his visit to Dr. Cullen: 

'I suppose in a few days I shall know what is decided 
on in Ireland about the University. It is a most daring 
attempt, but first it is a religious one, next it has the Pope's 
blessing on it. Curious it will be if Oxford is imported 
into Ireland, not in its members only, but in its principles, 
.methods, ways, and arguments. The battle there will be 
what it was in Oxford twenty years ago. Curious too that 
there I shall be opposed to the Whigs, having Lord Clarendon 
instead of Lord Melbourne, that Whately 1 will be there 
in propria persona, and that while I found my tools breaking 
under me in Oxford, for Protestantism is not susceptible of 
so high a temper, I am renewing the struggle in Dublin with 
the Catholic Church to support me. It is very wonderful, 
Keble, Pusey, Maurice, Sewell, &c., who have been able to 
do so little against Liberalism in Oxford will be renewing 
the fight, although not in their persons, in Ireland.' 

1 Whately was now Archbishop of Dublin, 


Newman, however, could not but see from the first that 
humanly speaking there seemed great doubts as to the 
practicability of the scheme. But he appears to have under- 
taken it as a religious act in which he dreaded to be of 
little faith.' Mistrustful of his own judgment, he threw him- 
self on the guidance of the Ruler of Christendom, the 
successor of Peter; and he afterwards expressed in a lecture 
full of pathos the first of the discourses of 1852 this 
reliance in such a matter on the Cathedra Sempiternal 

1 In the midst of our difficulties I have one ground of hope, just one stay, 
but, as I think, a sufficient one, which serves me in the stead of all other argu- 
ment whatever, which hardens me against criticism, which supports me if I begin 
to despond, and to which I ever come round, when the question of the possible 
and the expedient is brought into discussion. It is the decision of the Holy See; 
St. Peter has spoken, it is he who has enjoined that which seems to us so unprom- 
ising. He has spoken and has a claim on us to trust him. He is no recluse, 
no solitary student, no dreamer about the past, no doter upon the dead and gone, 
no projector of the visionary. He for eighteen hundred years has lived in the 
world; he has seen all fortunes, he has encountered all adversaries, he has shaped 
himself for all emergencies. If ever there was a power on earth who had an eye 
for the times, who has confined himself to the practicable, and has been happy in 
his anticipations, whose words have been facts, and whose commands prophecies, 
such is he in the history of ages, who sits from generation to generation in the 
Chair of the Apostles, as the Vicar of Christ, and the Doctor of His Church. 

'These are not words of rhetoric, gentlemen, but of history. All who take 
part with the Apostle are on the winning side. He has long since given warrant 
for the confidence which he claims. From the first he has looked through the 
wide world of which he has the burden; and, according to the need of the day 
and the inspirations of his Lord, he has set himself now to one thing, now to 
another; but to all in season, and to nothing in vain. He came first upon an 
age of refinement and luxury like our own, and, in spite of the persecutor, fertile 
in the resources of his cruelty, he soon gathered out of all classes of society the 
slave, the soldier, the high-born lady, and the sophist, materials enough to form 
a people to his Master's honour. The savage hordes came down in torrents from 
the north, and Peter went out to meet them, and by his very eye he sobered 
them, and backed them in their full career. They turned aside and flooded the 
whole earth, but only to be more surely civilised by him, and to be made ten 
times more his children even than the older populations which they had over- 
whelmed. Lawless kings arose, sagacious as the Roman, passionate as the Hun, 
yet in him they found their match and were shattered, and he lived on. The 
gates of the earth were opened to the east and west, and men poured out to take 
possession; but he went with them, by his missionaries, to China, to Mexico, 
carried along by zeal and charity, as far as these children of men were led by- 
enterprise, covetousness, or ambition. Has he failed in his successes up to this 
hour? Did he, in our fathers' day, fail in his struggle with Joseph of Germany 
and his confederates; with Napoleon, a greater name, and his dependent kings, 
that, though in another kind of fight, he should fail in ours? What grey hairs 
are on the head of Judah, whose youth is renewed like the eagle's, whose feet are 
like the feet of harts, and underneath the Everlasting Arms?' 


Let one further point be noted as to the prospect before 
Dr. Newman. At Rome in 1847, as we have seen, he had 
come to the conclusion that the time was not ripe for his 
urging those arguments which he felt to be so necessary in 
order to oppose effectively the rising tide of infidel thought. 
He had resigned himself to the thought that it was God's Will 
that certain special gifts of his should, therefore, remain 
unused. Now, however, the i kindly light 7 pointed to a 
path in which they might be of great use. If the extremely 
delicate matter of touching technical theology was outside 
the sphere of the proposed University scheme, the great 
question how an educated Catholic should bear himself 
towards the advancing tide of scientific and critical research, 
which was raising questions both important and new, directly 
claimed his attention as Rector of a Catholic University. 
Here, then, did seem to be an unmistakable call of 
Providence to help in the work which for thirty years he had 
regarded as that to which he was especially called. 

And in such a task he also had a recognised precedent in 
the work already done by Catholics on the Continent, 
including prominent laymen. If he succeeded in forming at 
the University a body of educated and thoughtful opinion 
among Catholic laity, some of them might take their share in 
this important movement. 1 What was called ' Ultramon- 
tane 3 thought on the Continent did not at that time incur 
the reproach urged later on against some of its phases, of 
being wanting in depth and breadth. Eminent and learned 
critics, representing such different standpoints as Lord Acton 
and Cardinal Wiseman, have testified, on the contrary, 
to the great influence on European speculation of the 
earlier Ultramontane writers of the century. 2 In France and 
Germany, notably, there had been for half a century a 
succession of great Catholic thinkers and scholars, many of 
them with a European reputation. The Romantic movement 
had great intellectual importance, and Catholics were among 
its ablest exponents. Newman himself had devoted his 
attention to the Church of France for quite fifteen years; 
he had been in close correspondence with a French Abb6, 

1 His own words on this subject are cited later on at p. 397. 

2 See Home and Foreign Review, L 513. 


M. Jager, over the lectures of 1837, and had written about the 
career of Lamennais, which he had followed closely. With 
Montalembert and Lacordaire he had enthusiastic sympa- 
thy. Moehler's 'Symbolik' was on lines in some respects simi- 
lar to his own Essay on 'The Development of Christian 
Doctrine. 7 But to this movement of the Catholic intellect, in 
which the laity took so large a share (for it was led at first 
by de Maistre and Chateaubriand, and represented later by 
Montalembert and Ozanam), England and Ireland offered no 
parallel. He felt that the Irish laity were regarded by some 
Irish ecclesiastics 'as little boys' to use his own expression. 
He desired to equip them for more responsible work to 
form a cultivated Catholic laity, 'gravely and solidly educated 
in Catholic knowledge' (he said) 'and alive to the arguments 
in its behalf, and aware both of its difficulties and of the 
way of treating them/ and he included in his purview 
Catholic England as well as Catholic Ireland. Thus we 
read in the first formal Report of the University that he 
had at the outset stated as one of the 'objects' of the 
University that it should provide 'philosophical defences of 
Catholicity and Revelation, and create a Catholic literature. 5 
His hope was that the Catholic University of Ireland would 
become the intellectual centre for all the Catholics of the 

In spite of the anxieties and work entailed by the Achilli 
trial, he found time after November 1851 to think out the 
extremely difficult problems involved in his lectures on the 
'Scope and Nature of University Education' and to write 
them in time for delivery in Dublin in May. In these 
months came, 'as a cloud not bigger than a man's hand/ the 
first symptom of the neglect and indifference from which he 
was to suffer so much at the hands of the authorities 
with whom he was working. I relate the incident in the 
words of his faithful friend and constant companion, Father 
William Neville: 

'After his acceptance of the Rectorship in 1851,' writes 
Father Neville, 'he had found himself so strangely left alone 
with regard to his going to Ireland that in the following 
spring he fixed a date to himself when he would resign 
unless, meanwhile, a letter of some sort (this is the way he 


happened to put it to himself) came to him from Ireland. 
The day had come without his having received any such 
letter; his letter of resignation was written, but in the 
course of the day a letter did come from Dr. Cullen, 
which, though not a pro-pos to anything calling him to Ire- 
land, nevertheless broke the stipulation he had made with 
himself. He regarded this circumstance as an indication 
of the will of Providence that he should go on with the 
work, and thereon, with a most remarkable cheerfulness 
and contentment, though mixed with a no less striking sad- 
ness, he put aside thoughts for himself which, as things were, 
he could have wished to realise, to be harnessed to the 
work in Dublin, (these were his words) as a horse to a cart. 
This was at the close of April, or in the early days of 
May 1852.' 

Meanwhile he had not in the earlier months of the year 
relaxed his work at the lectures. They gave him the utmost 
difficulty in their composition, f l have written almost reams 
of paper,' he writes to a friend on March 14, c finished, set 
aside, then taken them up again and plucked them. In truth 
I have the utmost difficulty in writing for people I don't 
know, and I have commonly failed when I have addressed 
strangers.' He anticipates that the lectures may be 'from 
beginning to end a failure from my not knowing my 
audience/ 1 However, in the event all passed off well and 
even brilliantly. He went to Dublin early in May. An event 
favourable to the University had occurred since his last visit, 
for Dr. Cullen had been translated to the See of Dublin. 2 
The lectures were given on five successive Mondays from 

1 As to my Lectures,* he writes from Rednal to Dr. Newsham, of Ushaw, 
* they have cost me no one knows how much thought and anxiety and again and 
again I stopped, utterly unable to get on with my subject, and nothing but the 
intercession of the Blessed Virgin kept me up to my work. At length I have 
intermitted the course, merely because I could not proceed to my satisfaction. 
For three days I sat at my desk nearly from morning to night, and put aside as 
worthless at night what I had been doing all day. Then I gave it up, and came 
here hoping that I should be strengthened to begin again. I am ashamed so to 
speak, as if I were achieving any great thing, but at rny age I do not work out 
things as easily as I once did. I say all this, however, for a sum cient reason. I 
am sure you will remember me in this as in other matters; and gain for me the 
light of Divine Grace, that I may say what is profitable and true, and nothing 

2 Dr. Murray had died in the autumn of 1851. 


May 10 to June 7 in a room in the Rotunda. They gave in 
outline the views of the work of a Catholic University of which 
I have already spoken. His own impression of the success of 
the first one is given in the following letter to Ambrose St. John : 

'Carissime, You are all expecting news and I have to 
be my own trumpeter. 

'The Lecture, I suppose, has been a hit, and now I am 
beginning to be anxious lest the others should not follow up 
the blow. The word "hit" was Dr. Cooper's word. 

'The room was very good for my purpose, being very 
small. It was just the room I like, barring want of light. I 
cannot make myself heard when I speak to many, nor do the 
many care to hear me, paucorum hominum sum. The room 
holds (say) 400, and was nearly full. Mr. Duffy, whom I 
met in the train to Kingstown after it, said he had never 
seen so literary an assemblage; all the intellect, almost, of 
Dublin was there. There were thirteen Trinity fellows, etc., 
eight Jesuits, a great many clergy, and most intense attention. 

'When I say that Dean Moylan was much pleased, I 
mean to express that I did not offend Dr. Murray's friends. 
Surgeon O'Reilly, who is the representative perhaps of a 
class of laity, though too good a Catholic perhaps for my 
purpose, and who, on Saturday, had been half arguing with 
me against the University, said when the Lecture was ended 
that the days of Mixed Education were numbered. 

'Don't suppose that I am fool enough to think I have 
done any great thing yet; it is only good as far as it goes. 
I trust it could not be better so far as it goes, but it goes a 
very little way. . . . 

'Dr. Moriarty, whom I made a censor of the Lecture before 
delivery, was the first who gave me encouragement, for he 
seemed much pleased with it, and spoke of its prudence, and 
said it went with the Queen's College party just as far as was 

'I was heard most distinctly, or rather my voice so filled 
the room, and I had so perfect confidence that it did, that 
people would not believe I could not be heard in a great 
church, but I know myself better. It was just the room I 
have ever coveted and never have had.' 

The sense of success was equally strong when the course 
was finished, as we see from the following words in a letter 
to Manning of June 8: 


'I have been prospered here in my lectures beyond my 
most sanguine expectations, or rather, beyond my most 
anxious efforts and pains, for I have had anxiety and work 
beyond belief in writing them, expectations none ; At 
least, my good Lord has never left me, nor failed me in my 
whole life, nor has He now. So my imagination was free 
from hope or fear, about the event. But my mind has been 
on my work; no one can tell how it has worn me down but 
myself. 7 

The success of the lectures evidently quickened Newman's 
pulse, and made him wish to throw himself with keen zest 
into the task before him. Nothing could be done until after 
the Achilli trial, which was but a fortnight distant; but from 
that moment the University was to be the work of his life. 
'My one object, 7 he wrote to a friend, f is that of hastening 
on the University matters.' 

Newman returned to England in the middle of June for 
the actual trial. On June 27 he crossed again to Ireland 
with Ambrose St. John, and assisted at Dr. Cullen's instal- 
lation as Archbishop at Dublin on the 29th, and at the great 
dinner after it. English and Irish Catholics were at this 
moment united by a common persecution. Indeed, the 
Catholic University itself was incidentally the immediate out- 
come of the vehement No-popery movement against "the 
Papal aggression.' The Roman authorities seem to have 
been so amazed at the degree of anti-Catholic feeling shown 
in the famous Durham letter of England's Prime Minister, 
that the last chance of a modus vivendi with the Queen's 
Colleges was, from that time, extinct. It was useless, they 
held, for Catholics to negotiate on such a subject with such 
a Government. They must do their best with their own 
educational forces, and forthwith found their own University. 
A rescript from Rome to the Bishops to this effect had been 
the signal for burning their ships. Thus a feeling of indignant 
protest against wrong was thrown into the University scheme, 
which stimulated its most active supporters. 

And now, after the series of trials which were to the 
eyes of his faith in reality victories, in which he had repre- 
sented the persecuted Church and championed it by word 
and by suffering in its struggle with its declared enemies, 


Newman had to endure something new in kind. He found 
himself embarked in a work which made no progress and 
wasted his time; which involved him in differences with 
his own co-religionists whom he respected and desired to 
serve; which for a long time seemed to be nothing but a 
succession of failures to effect what he had at the outset 
believed to be the task assigned to him by Providence. 
The English co-operators whom, he tried to secure one after 
another failed him. Conscious of the absence of a Univer- 
sity tradition among Irish Catholics, he was anxious from 
the first to surround himself with old Oxford friends, and to 
gain the support of Cardinal Wiseman as Chancellor of the 
University. He had early in the day in October 1851 
attempted to obtain Manning as his Vice-Rector. These 
wishes were not realised. Wiseman's Chancellorship was 
objected to by the Irish Bishops. Manning had but recently 
joined the Church and was about to leave England for Rome. 
He wrote at once the following letter, which presaged the 
more definite refusal which he ultimately gave to Newman's 

'My dear Newman, Your note has set me wishing to do 
anything you bid me; but I do not know what to say. 
Many doubts about myself and such a work occur at once. 

'Above all, the desire and I may say resolution I have 
had not to incline to any one work more than another till I 
have been to Rome. This has made me avoid even speak- 
ing of the future. But your words are too weighty with me 
to be passed by; and I will both think of them, and ask 
others who can guide me better than I can myself. I need 
not say that old affections and many debts draw me strongly 
towards you. On 3rd November I trust to start for Rome. 
Do not forget me. I shall not fail to go and look down 
from the Pincian and think of you. 

'Ever yours affectionately, 


Newman invited W. G. Ward, Henry Wilberforce, Dr. 
Northcote, and Mr. Healy Thompson to take some share in 
his enterprise, but all of them were from one cause or another 
prevented from joining him. 

But a difficulty yet more fundamental was found in 
Ireland itself. It lay in the hostility or indifference to the 


scheme on the part of the bulk of Irishmen, including many 
members of the Episcopate. And the very man on whom 
he relied, and who had invoked his aid Dr. Cullen failed 
to give him the support he needed. The story of the next 
three or four years is a long drawn-out history of apparent 
failure. They were years in which Newman came to have 
a great interest in and appreciation of the gifts of many 
Irishmen, He formed intimate friendships with some 
notably with Mr. Monsell, afterwards Lord Emly, and 
Mr. Aubrey de Vere. He conceived a great admiration 
for Dr. Moriarty, Bishop of Kerry. He used to speak of 
Dr. O'Reilly as the best theologian he had ever known. 
His friendship with Dr. Russell of Maynooth was further 
cemented. Some of the laymen associated with the Young 
Ireland movement aroused in him great interest, and he 
esteemed their talents and energy very highly. Dr. 
Sullivan of Cork notably he regarded as a man of real 
genius. He ever spoke with gratitude of the kindness to 
him of the Irish, including the large majority of the Episcopal 
Bench. It is idle to speculate as to what use he might have 
made of such gifts and talents in his colleagues had the 
circumstances of the country been different, had public 
opinion been ripe for the great enterprise, and had Dr. 
Moriarty or Dr. Russell, instead of Dr. Cullen, been Arch- 
bishop of Dublin. As it was, the two facts above referred to 
the indifference in the country of those who were not 
positively hostile to the scheme, and the incompatibility 
between the views of its chief supporter, Dr. Cullen, and 
himself made the enterprise one long, exhausting, and 
fruitless effort. For Dr. Cullen' s character Newman had a 
sincere respect, and even admiration; but their educational 
ideals, as we shall see in the sequel, were poles apart, and 
their effective co-operation proved impossible. 

Let the events be narrated in order. In telling the story, 
and in chronicling Newman's own feelings, I shall make 
liberal use of his Retrospective Notes on his Irish Cam- 
paign, written in 1872. In reading them it must be remem- 
bered that they are written after the failure of the scheme 
had invested the story with painful associations. His 
contemporary letters have not the same tone of constant 


discouragement. The Notes witness to the wearing effect 
of the whole Irish Campaign, but can hardly be considered 
a precise record of his feelings at the time, which, as his 
letters show, fluctuated considerably. They have great, 
though sad, psychological interest, and therefore I give them 
at some length. They tell of the trials of a sensitive tem- 
perament, habituated to speculative rather than to active 
work, but now engaged in a practical enterprise, from the 
first unpromising and gradually realised to be impossible. 
The sense of duty made him persevere, but the constant 
note of complaint in the retrospect tells of a spirit per- 
manently bruised by failure. The contemporary University 
Journal to which Newman occasionally refers I have not 
found among his papers. 

Newman went on a reconnoitring visit to Ireland in com- 
pany with his friend and fellow-Oratorian, Father Henry 
Bittleston, on July 30, 1852, and remained there for about a 
fortnight. But the unwonted exertion following on the strain 
of the Achilli trial proved too much for his health. After 
a short time spent in preaching at Limerick and elsewhere, 
he felt 'quite exhausted and knocked up in mind and in 
body/ and retired for a week's rest to Tervoe, the house of 
Mr. Monsell, and when he was fit to travel returned to 

Health and strength being restored, Newman was bent 
upon getting on with the University as quickly as possible. 
'Feeling,' he writes in the Notes, 'how much there was to do 
and how little time to do it in (for I ever limited my Dublin 
career in my thoughts and in my conversation to seven 
years) I grudged every hour of delay after the Achilli matter 
had ceased to occupy me. 7 The rule for a new trial in the 
Achilli case was, as we have seen, dismissed in January 1853, 
and Newman was then free to throw himself into his work. 

He had already been anxious to have at once the formal 
invitation of the Irish Bishops to Ireland. Moreover, he felt 
it all important that the really critical steps in the task he 
had undertaken, which was in any case so difficult, should be 
entirely within his own control. He had therefore written to 
Dr. Cullen in July 1852 on both these subjects. While 
he was quite ready to acquiesce in the appointment of any 

VOL, I. M 


Professors the Archbishop might name, 'so that they were 
good ones, and creditable to the University/ it was other- 
wise (he wrote) as to those persons who were immediately 
about him, 'who were to help him and share his responsi- 
bilities/ '1 must have perfect confidence in them and power 
over them,' he wrote. This exception referred to the Vice- 
Rector, Deans, and Tutors. In regard to their appoint- 
ment, he desired that no final step should be taken without 
his own co-operation. And he added a very emphatic 
request in reference to the Vice-Rector: 'If there is one 
office of which I ought to have the absolute appointment, 
it is this. 7 But he considered that no appointment ought to 
be made as yet. 'When I knew those out of whom I 
had to choose better, then I would appoint.' He wanted 
especially 'a man who would pull welP with him. He 
ended by insisting on the 'inexpedience of appointing a 
Vice-Rector at once which might be ruining everything/ 

The attitude of Dr. Cullen in view of this very reasonable 
request must be allowed to show itself in a somewhat minute 
narration of the sequel. The wearying effect of the course of 
events on Newman cannot otherwise be appreciated. Week 
followed week after the dispatch of his letter, and no answer 
came from Dr. Cullen. Six weeks had elapsed, and no 
response as to the summons to Ireland came. Newman 
supposed the Archbishop to be absorbed in some other 
matter, when he heard from a friend that Dr. Cullen was 
making inquiries as to the University buildings. Newman 
therefore wrote a second long letter to Dr. Cullen, giving his 
views as to the wisest way of starting the University. But he 
adds in the Notes which he has left on the subject, 'when I 
had written it I had not the courage to send it.' He sent 
instead a shorter letter begging that nothing might be done 
which should commit the University until a sub-committee 
was formed to work with the Rector. 

In the event Dr. Taylor was made secretary to the 
University, the post becoming vacant at that moment, and 
Dr, Leahy, also a stranger to Newman, was named Vice- 
Rector. Personally Newman liked both these two men when 
he knew them. But their appointment by the Archbishop, 
with the concurrence of Dr. McHale and the other Arch- 


bishops, was a direct refusal of his most urgent request. His 
unwelcome conclusion as to the object of their nomination 
is expressed by him thus in the Retrospective Notes: 
' First Dr. Taylor, then Dr. Leahy were appointed, and 
both of them, in the intention of the appointment, rather as 
the four Archbishops' representative and their security and 
safeguard against me, than as my own helper and backer up.' 
Yet Newman saw that Dr. Cullen had no idea that he had 
done anything which ought to cause reasonable offence. 
'The truth is/ he wrote, 'that these Bishops are so accus- 
tomed to be absolute that they usurp the rights of others and 
rough-ride over their wishes and their plans quite innocently 
without meaning it, and are astonished, not at finding out the 
fact, but at its being impossible to these others.' 

The issue, then, of these months from July 1852 onwards 
was a great disappointment to Newman, and boded ill for 
the future. And the immediate sequel only verified his 
fears. The committee for which he specially asked in order 
to set the University on its feet was never appointed; and 
repeated demands for his own installation as Rector by the 
Bishops were simply ignored. It would be tedious to relate 
these further contretemps in detail. But they deepened 
Newman's profound disappointment. To do a great work 
as a Catholic, as a knight-errant for Holy Church or the 
See of Peter, was his highest aspiration. He never promised 
himself a long life. He used, in these years, to speak of the 
possibility that he might be suddenly taken. 'The night 
cometh in which no man can work. 3 And he longed now 
to be doing something. To be thwarted and treated un- 
justly by the world as in 1850 and 1852 was so much 
gain, however much of suffering it cost him. It was part 
of the victory of the Cross. But this idleness, this sense of 
being at the mercy of those who appeared to him to set no 
value on his work, this force of inertia brought to bear on 
him by those whom he was striving to help within the Church 
itself, was another matter. 1 

1 'I was idling my time,' he writes in the Notes, 'being unable to set myself 
to any other work from the expectation that I might be called off from it at any 
moment by an order sent to me to proceed at once to Dublin. Again, I intended 
to give no more than a limited term of years to the University, and, therefore, 
every year was precious. And again, I had a reason of a different kind. Unless 


The causes of delay were never fully known to Newman. 
One of them undoubtedly was the opposition to the University 
on the part of Irishmen, including some of those who 
favoured the Queen's Colleges, and the wide-spread indiffer- 
ence to the scheme in almost all other quarters. Dr. Cullen 
had trusted to Newman's prestige as affording him great help 
in overcoming these difficulties. He had hoped (so a friend 
of his tells me) that before formal steps were taken by 
the hierarchy Newman would of his own accord 'stump the 
country/ and preach and lecture on the importance of the 
scheme. And now he found that Newman would only take 
action with the Archbishops 7 explicit sanction. 

Newman's excessive sensitiveness and reserve here played 
into the hands of Dr. Cullen. A man of rougher fibre would 
probably have insisted on receiving his commission from the 
Bishops to begin work without further delay, or perhaps a 
policy of greater activity and initiative on his own part 
would have been a more successful course. 'Newman/ said 
the late Cardinal Maccabe, c expected the mountain to go to 
Mahomet. Therefore he failed.' But he could not help 
being conscious that he had done a great favour to the Irish 
Bishops, and he could not bring himself to urge claims of 
his own which ought, he felt, to have been realised on all 
hands without any word from him. 

'I doubt not the question recurred to me/ he writes in the 
Notes, ca Are they doing me a favour in sending for rne from 

I was myself at work, others would do things instead of me. Thus Mr. Bianco ni 
bought the University House without my knowing anything about it; and offi- 
cials were appointed without my knowledge; not only Dr. Taylor, but Mr. 
Flannery, whom Dr. Cuilen made "the Dean" of the University, an office which 
did not come into my list of places, and whom, when I found I could not dispense 
with him, I contrived to accommodate to my own plan of offices, by giving the 
word "Dean" a different meaning. Dr. Cullen meant these men to advise and 
to control me, and to be at once his own informants [about] what was doing, and 
his own secretaries to correspond with me. As Dr. Taylor was intended to give 
me counsel, so afterwards he was accustomed to say "Ask Mr, Flannery"; 
"Have a meeting with Mr. Flannery and Dr. Leahy two or three times a week/' 
and I found Mr Flannery and Dr. Ford knew of the appointments which were in 
contemplation by Dr, Cullen, such as the appointment of a new Vice-Rector, and 
were able to communicate the tidings to others, before I had had from the Arch- 
bishop or anyone else any hint or warning on the subject. It was plain then that 
the longer I was kept from Ireland, the more I should find my action anticipated, 
and my work obstructed by the proceedings of others.' 


England, or am I doing them a favour by coming? " Certainly 
it was very hard that I should be bound, for no end of my own, 
to leave my own dear nidulo in the Oratory, and plunge 
into strange quarters in order to wait at Episcopal doors, and 
to overcome prejudices against myself and the scheme of a 
University, which were nothing to me, whether they grew in 
strength or were dissipated. If the Bishops did not want me, 
they might lump me.' 

Early in January 1853, however, Newman did write 
urgently to Dr. Cullen that he must have his formal 
commission from the Bishops without further delay the 
Bishops were, he knew, to meet in the course of the month. 
Newman's general feeling may be gathered from his own 
Retrospective Notes at this point. 

'The time of the meeting came and went, and no answer 
from Dr. Cullen. So I wrote again on February 3rd, that 
is, after an interval of nearly three weeks. I said that I 
must urge the Committee of the University to do something 
for me. Had they made a step at the last meeting? I 
must know at once what I had to do, in order to think over it 
between this and Easter? Again, "I must have full power; 
I could not act at all if I were crippled." 

'I was now in the sixteenth month of my appointment, 
and nothing was told me when I was to begin or what I was 
to do. I had written two letters to Dr. Cullen six months 
before, and two letters now, and could not get, I will not say 
information, but, a reply from him. I can understand he 
had great difficulties in moving; but I cannot understand his 
not plainly telling me so. He might have written frankly to 
me; "You won't be wanted for a year to come at least, for 
we must have a synodal meeting of the Bishops; I really don't 
know when you will be wanted, and I cannot tell quite what 
your powers will be; I don't think you should have the appoint- 
ment of Vice-Rector, &c., &c." But I suppose it is what he 
had learned at Rome, to act, not to speak, to be peremptory 
in act, but to keep his counsel, not to commit himself on 
paper; to treat me, not as an equal, but as one of his subjects. 

' Certainly he had great difficulties; I should have sym- 
pathised with them if he had told me of them; but, even 
now, I can only conjecture them. As time went on he 
seemed hurt that I was not of his party against Dr. McHale. 
I wished to be of no party; but I should, with the utmost 
difficulty, have kept myself from throwing myself into his, 


more than my sense of propriety and my judgment dictated, 
if he had opened himself to me. Dr. McHale was really a 
great trouble to him. He himself was a stranger to Ireland, 
and the Bishops looked at him on his coming from Rome 
with the same jealousy and apprehension as the English 
Bishops had looked on Dr. Wiseman. My personal friends 
wanted me, (because they thought I must sooner or later) to 
come into collision with "the great Archbishop of the West," 
as a necessary step to a certain success, and, had Dr. Cullen 
made himself kind and dear to me, I suppose I should have 
taken this task off his shoulders.' 

In March Newman wrote again to Dr. Cullen: <I am 
grateful for the rest you have given me, and now I shall be 
grateful if you put an end to it as soon as possible/ But 
he received no reply. 

Newman's inactivity gave in some quarters the impression 
that the University scheme was abandoned, and it was pro- 
posed that he should be appointed to the English See of 
Liverpool or Nottingham. A letter written, but never sent, 
to Dr. Cullen on this subject throws yet further light on his 
feeling at the time: 

'To place me in an English See is simply to take me from 
Ireland. ... I feel most deeply and habitually that the office 
of a Bishop is not suited for me. Some things one is fit 
for, others one is not fit for. To say I am not a thorough 
theologian, and that I know nothing of Canon Law, is 
obvious; I do not urge what is plain to anyone. But more 
than this, I have not the talent, the energy, the resource, the 
spirit, the power of ruling necessary for the high office of a 
Bishop. This is neither humility nor modesty, but plain 
common sense. If I am taken from the University I am 
taken from a position where I can do something to an office 
where I can do little or nothing. I am in a new element. I 
have never been in power in my life. My mode of influence 
is quite in another line. And I am sure I should get so 
oppressed with a sense of my responsibilities and my short- 
comings that I should have my spirit broken. Every 
instrument is fitted for its own work; a spade, a trowel, a 
sword, a razor, each has its own use. I trust it will not 
please them at Rome to throw me away when they might 
turn me to account.' 

Not until October 1853 did the meeting of the University 


Committee take place. Newman at last received a summons 
to Ireland, and 2,ooo/. was placed in his hands. 

But the action of the Committee, even when it did put 
an end to the delay, did not satisfy Newman. 

'I was disappointed, desponding, and sore,' he -writes. 
4 The Committee, magno hiatu, had done very little. They 
had called me over to Ireland, but they had done nothing to 
set me off. What would the public know about a Resolution 
passed in a private room in Ormond Quay? a Resolution 
which was really the act of two men, Mr. O'Reilly and Dr. 
Taylor. It gave me an excuse for coming if I wished to 
come, but I did not wish to come if the direct act of coming 
was to proceed from me. I did not wish to obtrude myself 
on Dublin. I expected to do a favour to others by coming, 
not to benefit myself. 

'My feeling was this, I had now been appointed Rector 
for two years, and nothing had been done. If, for the first 
of the two, the Achilli trial kept me from Ireland, yet many 
things might have been done in Ireland to smooth such 
difficulties as were sure to beset me when I did come. For 
two years Dr. Cullen had met my earnest applications for 
information or a settlement of particular points, or the 
expression of my views and wishes, by silence or abrupt acts. 
He had written to me, I think, once. He did not even 
correspond with me through a secretary. He made a 
stranger to me my secretary, and obliged me to pick up the 
crumbs of his words or doings by means of him. The eclat 
of the (National) Synod of Thurles in 1850 and of the Pope's 
Brief had passed away. My Lectures in Dublin in May, 1852, 
which Dr. Cullen had sanctioned by his presence were a flash 
in the pan. His presence at them had been, I think, the only 
public recognition of me, since I had been appointed Rector. 

'If in the coming January I went over to Ireland as I 
proposed, I should seem to be acting on my own hook. 
I should be an Englishman taking upon himself to teach the 
Paddies what education was, what a University, and how it 
was their duty to have one with me for a Rector; I should 
seem to be carrying out, not a great Council's resolve, but a 
hobby of my own, to be a propagandist, not an authorita- 
tive superior, a convert, without means, looking out for a 
situation and finding and feathering a nest from the pockets of 
the Irish, with an outlay for me and my surroundings to 
the tune of 5,ooo/. per annum. That I intended to make 


a good thing of it was actually said; and Dr. Cullen himself 
in the autumn of 1854, when so many of the Birming- 
ham Fathers were at Dalkey, remarked to me that such a 
place was a more desirable home than a back street in 

f l felt then that I could not go over to Dublin at all, 
unless I was distinctly called there by the Irish Episcopate, or 
in some other formal and public way. 

1 Fancy my skulking about Ireland and acting upon its 
classes in various districts, I being a foreigner, unrecognised 
by the Bishops, with nothing to say for myself. It would 
be like an Anglican parson of Oxford going about taking 
confessions in the dioceses of Canterbury or Worcester.' 

It was not until January 4, 1854, that Dr. Cullen at last 
wrote undertaking to arrange for such a public summons 
of Newman to Ireland as he desired. The month of 
January 1854, indeed, held out fair promise of putting an 
end to Newman's trying period of suspense. Newman had 
written to Cardinal Wiseman, who was in Rome, and told 
Mm of his difficulties. Wiseman had probably heard of them 
from other sources, and had already placed before Pius IX. 
the urgency of the Irish University question. The Holy 
Father took up the matter with vigour, and promised to 
strengthen the hands of the promoters of the University 
with a fresh Brief. Moreover, the difficulty which Newman 
had found in maintaining his independence had apparently 
brought home to Dr. Wiseman the necessity of giving the 
Rector ecclesiastical rank equal to that of the Irish Bishops, 
and at Wiseman's suggestion the Pope decided that the 
Oratorian was himself to be raised to the Episcopate. The 
following letters and documents collected by Newman, and 
Ms own comments appended, mark the further course of 

The Cardinal's letter to Dr. Cullen, forwarded by him to 
Newman, was as follows: 
1 Private & Confidential 'Rome: 2,7th Dec. 1853. 

'My dear Lord His Holiness ... has several times 
spoken to me with the greatest interest, and I may say 
anxiety, about the University. He desires much to see it 
commence, and is ready to come forward with the authority 
to overcome all obstacles. His Holiness thinks indeed that 


Apostolical Letters should give its foundation, and has several 
times repeated that, if the materials for them were supplied, 
he will issue them. 

'It appears to me that, if your Grace thinks well, . . . 
a preliminary Brief might be issued, approving in general 
terms the foundation of such an institution in Dublin, con- 
firming Dr. Newman as Rector, giving to such persons as 
you may name the power to elect Professors, authorizing the 
beginning with so many Faculties or classes to be increased, 
giving the power of conferring degrees, as is done in such 
and such Colleges and Universities, by way of a temporary 
rule, and reserving to a future constitution the final approval 
of rules, regulations, &c. "Vedo," the Pope said to me a 
few days ago, "che bisogna che il primo colpo venga del 
Papa." If your Grace thinks so too, the thing is done. 3 

'I sent an answer at once/ Newman writes in the Notes, 
'proposing to Dr. Cullen that I should go at once to Rome my- 
self. My Memorandum in the Journal of University matters, 
which I had shortly before this time begun to keep, runs thus; 

lu January 15 (1854) answered, proposing I should go at 
once to Rome. My reasons are, (i) I fear the Cardinal will 
do too much, and that we shall have a University set up, 
before we know where we are; at all events, that something 
would be done different from what is wanted. (2) I shall be 
able to leave the matter in Manning's hands then," (who at 
that time was in Rome), "but I cannot put it into them 
without talks with him. (3) I cannot really do anything in 
Ireland till the Brief comes, and now Dr. Cullen presses me 
to go to Ireland at once, while it is coming." (which I did not 
relish). "If I don't go to Rome, it won't be done so quickly; 
meanwhile, I shall have a long kicking my heels and time- 
wasting in Ireland, when I am so wanted here," (i.e. in 
Birmingham). "(4) I shall come back from Rome with a 
prestige, as if I had a blunderbuss in my pocket." 

'I continue: 

'"January 19. Letter from Dr. Taylor saying that the 
Archbishop thought it better I should not go to Rome just 
now; that he expected a letter from Propaganda, and wished 
me to be with him when it came. He added: 'He thinks 
it most probable that the issuing of the Brief, whenever it do 
take place, will be accompanied by some mark of distinction 
to yourself as its Rector. To this you could not, for the 
sake of the University, offer any opposition. That being so, 

M 2 


it would appear more appropriate that you should not be on 
the spot 3 (at Rome) 'at the time; but should defer your visit 
until after the first step is taken there, and then go to perfect 
'whatever you might consider still calling for improvement.' 

* " Cardinal Wiseman writes from Rome on January aoth, 
1854. c From the first audience I had of the Holy Father, I did 
not hesitate to say that the "University would never, could 
never, be started except by a Pontifical Brief, and that so 
great a work deserved and required this flowing from the 
Fountain of Jurisdiction. His Holiness said that, if materials 
were furnished him, he would gladly issue such a document. 
He spoke to me again and agreed in the same conclusion. 

* " 'At a third audience I begged to make a suggestion, long 
on my mind, and about which I consulted Archbishop Cullen at 
Amiens, and obtained his hearty concurrence. Indeed, I had 
mentioned it in England, I think to H. Wilberforce. It was 
that His Holiness would graciously please to create you Bishop 
m partibus, which would at once give you a right to sit with the 
Bishops in all consultations, would raise you above all other 
officers, professors, &c., of the University, and would give dig- 
nity to this (the University) itself, and to its head. The Holy 
Father at once assented. I wrote to Dr. Cullen, and author- 
ized his Grace to tell you as much as he thought proper. . . . 

' i{ ' This day I had another audience, in which His Holiness 
graciously told me that he has commissioned Mgr. Pacific! (who 
has been ill since October) yesterday to draw up a Brief, estab- 
lishing the University, and naming Archbishop Cullen, Chan- 
cellor; and, smilingly drawing his hands down each side of his 
neck to his breast, he added: "e manderemo a Newman la 
crocetta, lo faremo, vescovo di Porfirio, o qualche luogo." This 
was spoken in the kindest manner. Of course Porphyrium was 
only an exempli gratia, as it is filled up. But I thought it 
might be pleasing to you to have the Pope's own words. . . 

' " 'Ever since the Achilli judgment I have felt that a 
mark of honour and favour, and an expression of sympathy 
from the Church was requisite,, and this seemed to me the 
proper mode of bestowing it. 

' " ' I have only one thing to add, that I request the 
consolation and honour of conferring on you the proposed 
dignity, when the proper time shall come. . . . 

'/"I will offer no congratulations as yet. You will use 
quite your own discretion about this letter. 

6 " 'Yours ever affectionately in Christ, 



'This letter, ' continues Newman in the Notes, 'was a 
great satisfaction to me. I really did think that the Cardinal 
had hit the right nail on the head, and had effected what 
would be a real remedy against the difficulties which lay in my 
way. I wrote to Dr. Grant of Southwark, (who congratulated 
me on the Pope's intention,) that I never could have fancied 
the circumstances would exist such as to lead me to be glad 
to be made a Bishop, but that so it was. I did feel glad, 
for I did not see, without some accession of weight to my 
official position, how I could overcome the inertia and oppo- 
sition which existed in Ireland on the project of a University.' 

Newman's reply to Cardinal Wiseman, dated February i, 
ran as follows: 

'Your Eminence's letter arrived yesterday evening, the 
very anniversary of the day of my having to appear in Court, 
and of the sentence from Coleridge. And to-morrow, the 
Purification, is the sixth Anniversary of the establishment of 
our Congregation, and completes the fifth year of our settle- 
ment in Birmingham. As to the Holy Father's most gracious 
and condescending purpose about me, I should say much of 
my sense of the extreme tenderness towards me shown in it, 
did not a higher thought occupy me, for it is the act of the 
Vicar of Christ, and I accept it most humbly as the will and 
determination of Him whose I am, and who may do with me 
what He will. Perhaps I ought to remind your Eminence 
that, to do it, the Holy Father must be pleased to supersede 
one of St. Philip's traditions in our Rule, which runs thus: 
"Dignitates ullas nemo possit accipere nisi Pontifex jubeat." 

'As to yourself, I hope, without my saying it, you will 
understand the deep sense I have of the considerate and 
attentive kindness you have now, as ever, shown me. I 
shall only be too highly honoured by receiving consecration 
from your Eminence.' 

'The Bishop of Southwark,' Newman continues in the 
Retrospective Notes, 'was not the only Bishop who paid 
me compliments on this occasion. Dr. Ullathorne, too, as might 
be expected, after having made a too eulogistic speech about 
me on a public occasion at Birmingham (on which occasion, to 
the surprise of all present, he called me 'Right Reverend'), on 
my writing to thank him, replied to me in the following terms: 

' "February 8th, 1854. The announcement in your kind 
note does not take me by surprise. I had a hint of His 


Holiness's intention a fortnight since, and it appeared to me 
that the Episcopacy was the suitable mode of expressing 
the estimation which both His Holiness and the Catholic 
Episcopacy entertain of you. And, whilst the dignity so 
conferred as to make the distinction peculiar will be 
universally applauded, so it will be useful to the University, 
and to your own position in reference to that arduous but 
important undertaking. . . . The report of your elevation 
has been rumoured through England for some time. ... I 
hope that, when you receive your Briefs, some of the brethren 
will tell me; and, as I suppose that it is the last time I shall 
ever give you my blessing, I do it very heartily. 

'"Your devoted brother in Christ, &c., &c." 

'On February isth, Father Stanton, of the London 
Oratory, wrote to me a letter beginning thus: 

'"My dearest Father, We have just heard the certain 
information of the reports about the Bishopric. We feel the 
great propriety of the thing on, a thousand grounds, and, 
therefore, rejoice heartily at it. I have no doubt it will be 
greatly for the good of the University. I suppose the con- 
secration will not be at present, as I imagine you have to 
send your acceptance, and choice of See; and then the Bulls 
have to be issued. We are air for Ptolemais, &c., &c." 

' Various friends made me costly presents in anticipation 
of the requirements of a Bishop. The Duke of Norfolk sent 
me a massive gold chain. Mrs. Bowden, a cross and chain 
of Maltese filagree work. Mr. Hope-Scott, a morse for a cope, 
ornamented with his wife's jewels, and Mr. Monsell, a cross. 

'So matters remained for some months. When I went 
to Ireland I made it known at Limerick and elsewhere that 
the Holy Fathet had designated me a Bishop.' 1 

1 Newman adds in the notes the following illustrations of the fact that his 
nomination to a Bishopric was public property: 

'Under date of May ist, 1854, Dr. Manning wrote to me from London: 

' " I got home last Thursday, and I cannot longer delay writing a few words 
to give you joy and to express my own, at the will of Jhe Holy Father towards 
you. ... It is the due and fitting end to your long life of work, and fulfils the 
words of the Chapter in the Office: c< Jus turn deduxit, et hones tavit ilium in 
laborious et complevit labores illius." 

'On the srd of the same month I preached at the opening of the Church at 
Stone; and then Dr. Ullathorne treated me as a Bishop, refusing to give me the 
benediction before the sermon. Also, as late as June 8th, he addressed me a 
letter which runs as follows: 

'"My dear Lord, I returned this day from the Continent, and found your 


All seemed, for the moment, to promise well. Newman 
was designated Rector in a Papal Brief; his bishopric, which 
seemed assured, would give him the necessary ecclesiastical 
status; and all the powers he desired were promised. He 
reached Dublin on February 7, 1854. But his arrival was 
the occasion for the beginning of anxieties of a fresh kind. 
After two years spent in the endeavour to gain permission to 
begin his official investigations in Ireland itself with a view 
to setting the University in actual operation, the result of 
these investigations was anything but reassuring. 1 Mr. 
O'Hagan, afterwards Lord Chancellor, had already intimated 
that the educated laity were in favour of mixed education. 
And Newman knew that the laity had largely to be won 
over. But now he found that those of the clergy who were 
in his opinion best qualified to speak despaired of the success 
of a Catholic University. 

'The day after my arrival,' he writes in the Notes, 
C I called on Father Curtis, the Provincial (I think) of the 
Jesuits; or, at least, the Superior of the House in Gardiner 
Street. He was a man of great character and experience. 
I have the notice of my visit in my University Journal. 

'"February &th. Called on Father Curtis, who said, on 
the experience of thirty years, that (i) the class of youths did 
not exist in Ireland who would come to the University; that 
the middle class was too poor; that the gentleman class 
wished a degree for their sons, and sent them to Trinity 
College; and the upper class, who were few, sent their sons 
to English Universities, &c.; that many went abroad, i.e. to 
Belgium, until seventeen or eighteen. (2) That there were 
no youths to fill evening classes in Dublin, unless I looked to 

kind note. I feel honoured by your proposal to inscribe my name on the books 
of the Irish University, and I, of course, accept the honour. One of the first 
questions I asked on reaching England was about your consecration; but I have 
not yet heard of the where and the when. . . ." 

'And later still, on June iSth, Lord Shrewsbury wrote to me as follows 
about the University: 

* "My dear Lord Bishop elect, May I request your Lordship to be so good 
as to allow my name to be put down as one of its members. ... I suppose 
your Lordship intends getting a charter to confer degrees; and if any influence I 
possess with government might be of use, I put myself entirely at your disposi- 
tion. . . . &c., &c. To the Right Reverend Dr. Newman."' 

1 Doubtless it was largely this state of jopinion in Ireland which had affected 
Dr. Cullen and made him slow to summon Newman. 


the persons who frequented concerts, &c., &c.,men, women 
and children. Part of this was said in answer to my own 
anticipation, that there would be a class of students answer- 
ing to the day pupils of King's College, London. Also there 
would be the class who frequent the Mechanics' Institute, and 
who, being Catholics, would require some guidance in the 
midst o a Protestant population. Father Curtis ended by 

' " ' My advice to you is this: to go to the Archbishop and 
say: Don't attempt the University give up the idea. 5 " 

'This was the greeting from the first ecclesiastic I called 
upon when, in consequence of the summons of the Committee 
in October, 1853, I found I was able to go over to Dublin. 

"Then as to Maynooth, the President, Dr. Keneham, was 
distinctly cold towards the project of a University; while 
Dr. Russell, under date of July 2nd, wrote to me: 

"I explained to you when we last met how I myself 
have felt on the subject of the University, and how despond- 
ently I have looked on the prospects." 

'What Dr. Ryan said, a few days after Father Curtis, the 
following extract from my journal will show: 

"'February 24/^-2 y/A. The Bishop of Limerick very 
strong against the possibility of the University answering. 
However, he has consented to have his name put down on 
the Book, on condition . . . that he should not be supposed 
to prophesy anything but failure." 

'And two years and a half afterwards he sent me a 
message by Father Flanagan. 

' "You will never do any good with the University till you 
put yourself in connection with the Head of the Empire." 

'Dr. Murray I never saw, and he was now gone; but he 
still spoke in such men as these. We must take things as 
they are. When a certain country is to be operated on, the 
opinions and judgments which are then expressed may be 
true or false, but they are facts and must be treated as 
facts for they are materials which have to be used as 
instruments or as subjects. Men like Dr. Murray and 
Dr. Russell were of the most cultivated class in Ireland, as 
Father Curtis was among the most experienced. Of course, 
as good Catholics such men would not be slow to do all that 
they could do for any object on which the Holy Father had 
set his heart; but they had an omen of failure, damping all 
their endeavours if any of them were called to take part in 
the University, 


'The same must be said as regards the lawyers who were 
the natural and actual allies of the class of ecclesiastics 
which I have been speaking of. Lucas had written me word 
in October, 1851, of the objection which Mr. Thomas 
O'Hagan (afterwards Lord Chancellor) made to the scheme 
of a University; and among them the opinions of the leading 
bishops who had acted with the lawyers in the days of 
O'Connell are prominent. "A feeling," he says, "on the side 
of Trinity College against a Catholic University is the 
historical, feeling. For years under Dr. Doyle, mixed 
schools, that is, equal rights in education, were the cry. A 
bishop said the other day: ' Where is the line of demarcation 
to be drawn? How can separate education be carried on 
completely? When people are mixed and society is mixed, 
education must be mixed.' " These feelings I found to be in 
full possession of educated minds in 1854. At that time 
I had a conversation with Mr. Thomas O'Hagan, and on 
June 27th he wrote to me in answer. He says: 

'"On Saturday and Sunday I spoke to several of our 
leading men/' (on the circuit? he writes from Longford) "and 
I think I may say that the suggestions which I ventured to 
make in our hurried conversation did not unfairly represent 
the condition of feeling and opinion which is, to some extent, 
to be encountered in its regard. Many Irish Catholics 
apprehend that the simple inscription of their names on its 
books might be taken to imply the abandonment of their 
opinions, and a compromise of their consistency." 

'In like manner Mr. Monsell writes me word, September 
5th, that he sends me "a disheartening letter from Mr. 
Fitzgerald, (now Judge.) Mr. Butler of Limerick, October 
i4th, says that Serjeant, now Judge, O'Brien has been endeav- 
ouring to induce some members of the Bar, who have scruples 
on the matter, to go together in a body and give their adhesion." 

4 The feelings of the lawyers were shared by the country- 
gentlemen, and that on various grounds, some of which I give 
instance of. 

'"I applied to Lords Kenmare, Castlerosse, and Fingall," 
writes Monsell on July I3th, "to give their names to the 
University, and was surprised to find that they objected to 
do so. I think their names of great importance." 

"And I have a memorandum on March ist, thus: 

'"Mr. Errington called. He said that Mr. James 
O'Ferrall had a more desponding view than ever of the 
University, from things which came out in the Maynootli 


commission/ 3 I suppose, clerical jobs. "He thought there 
was simply no demand for it. He told me last November/' 
I continue, "that the- Catholic party had been obliged to 
move, in order to oppose, the Queen's Colleges. Perhaps 
many will content themselves with their failures, looking 
on the project of a University merely as something negative." 
If this use of me was what called me to Ireland, viz. to be 
flung at the heads of the advocates of the Queen's Colleges, 
and not to introduce a positive policy, this might be a 
great object, but a very different one from that which filled 
my own mind/ 

Here then was the position gradually brought home to 
him. A Catholic University was wanted as a political and 
ecclesiastical weapon against mixed education. For this 
purpose his name was a valuable asset. In this sense all the 
Bishops favoured the University. But as a practical project, 
in the interests of education, hardly any one took it seriously. 

And, on the other hand, Cullen's ecclesiastical ideals had 
helped to estrange the laity from the University. Newman 
in his Notes quotes one influential lay correspondent as 
forecasting its probable character as that of 'a close borough 
of clergymen and a clerical village/ Another held its object 
to be that of ' placing Catholic education entirely in the 
hands of the clergy, and the exclusion of the laity from all 
interference/ Moreover, it was speedily perceived by New- 
man that the masses of the people, whose contributions were 
the pecuniary support of the venture, Hook no interest in 
any of the proceedings, and made their offerings when and 
would make them while they were told to do so by their 
Bishops, but no longer/ Such views, and absence of views, 
were indeed paralysing. 

'For twenty years/ he wrote to St. John from Dublin at 
this time, ; I have said my work was that of raising the dead! 
I have said so in my fourth (now fifth) University Sermon, 
quoting Aeschylus before the movement of 1833 began. 
Well, if that was a raising of the dead, is not this Irish 
University emphatically more so? for all men almost tell me 
with one voice that nowhere in all Ireland are the youths to 
be foipad who are to fill it/ 

To Mrs. W. Froude he writes: 'I have nothing to tell you 
about Ireland. The Pope is taking my part, i.e., he is 


making me a Bishop, but the great difficulty between ourselves 
is that, what with emigration, campaigning, ruin of families, 
and the fUK/3oi/o>xx (pusillanimity) induced by centuries of 
oppression, there seems no class to afford members for a 
University and next, there is a deep general impression 
that this is the case, which is nearly as hopeless a circum- 
stance as the case itself, supposing that case to be a fact.' 

Newman did not pause in his efforts for the new insti- 
tution; but what could the opinions he gathered leave him 
of buoyant hopefulness? They seemed, he calmly writes, 
'to show that to plan its establishment was to attempt an 

Nevertheless he set to work as best he could. He writes 
to St. John on February 17, 1854: r 

'The first week I was here was simply lost, the Arch- 
bishop being away. Since then I have engaged one 
Lecturer, and almost another; both distinguished persons 
here. I have laid the foundations of a quasi Oratory with 
priests to confess the youths, and set up a debating society, 
etc. and have thrown lawyers, architects, painters, paperers, 
and upholsterers into the University house, with a view of 
preparing for our autumn opening.' 

The next step was to see the Bishops personally as his 
friend Mr. Lucas x had advised him. But bad weather and 
bad health made this enterprise but partially successful. 
Here is his note on the attempt. 

'With the assistance of Bradshaw I drew out the scheme 
of a tour which would comprehend them all, though I did 
not communicate my intention further than to be a little in 
advance of my natural progress in the announcements I 
sent to them. I wished, besides making their acquaintance, 
to learn something of the state of the Colleges and Schools, 
and to beat up for Professors and Scholars. I have still a 
portion of my projected itinerary. I was to start on 
Friday, the i7th, from Dublin for Thurles, thence to Kil- 
kenny, Carlow, Waterford, Cork, and Killarney. This 
was to take a week. From Killarney I was to start on 
Friday the 24th for Limerick, thence to Galway by coach, 
thence to Athenry, Tuam, and Loughrea. From Galway 
in succession to Athlone, Mullingar, Navan, Drogheda, which 

Editor of the Tablet. 


I was to reach by the next Friday, March 3rd. Thence 1 
was to proceed to Newry, Belfast, Balmena, Coleraine, and 

'It was the worst winter that the country had had since 
1814; and I had been laid up, as early as the foregoing 
November, with one of those bad colds which began with me 
at Littlemore, and did not lose hold of me till about the year 
1864. A second winter came on in February, and a second 
severe cold; and when. I started from Dublin it was raining 
hard. I directed my course to Kilkenny in consequence. It 
was on Saturday the i8th. 

'It was extravagant to think of such a round of visits at 
that season, however seasonable the weather, but the weather 
was extraordinary. I was soon stopped short in my course. 
I got to Kilkenny in time for dinner at the Bishop's, 
Dr. Walshe, and went on at night to the College at Carlow. 
There I remained over Sunday, calling on the Bishop, 
Dr. Hely. On Monday morning the 2oth I left for Dr. Foran's 
at Waterford, the Bishop of the place. I remained there 
Monday and Tuesday, and in the evening of the 2ist went 
off to Cork, to the Vincentians. On the 22nd I was called 
on by the Bishop, Dr. Delany, who lived, I think, in the 
neighbourhood. Thence I went to Thurles, and was the 
guest of the Archbishop,- Dr. Slattery dining with Dr. 
Leahy at the College to meet a large party of priests. On 
the 24th I went to Limerick, to the Bishop's, Dr. Ryan, 
with whom I remained till Monday, the 27th. 

'I had now seen six Bishops, and my progress was stopped. 
My cold had got worse and worse. I got very weak, and from 
Limerick my next step was a long coach journey to Galway. 
Nor was this all; I had neither food nor sleep; I could not 
sleep upon the feather-bedded curtained four-posters, and I 
could not eat the coarse and bleeding mutton which was the 
ordinary dinner, and I created remark, of course, do what I 
would, by going without it. With the prospect of a long coach 
journey and Dr. MacHale at the end of it, and the certainty 
of the same entertainment, coming all upon my indisposition, 
I felt it would be imprudent and useless to attempt more than 
I had done, and on the 27th I returned to Dublin/ 

The sadness apparent in this retrospect was not incom- 
patible with the very real appreciation at the time of the 
kindness of the Bishops and clergy, who received him (so he 
writes at the time to Hope-Scott) 'with open arms/ He also 


appreciated the more humorous side of his Irish adventures. 
He used to describe with much appreciation his reception by 
Dr. Ryan, Bishop of Limerick. The Bishop, to begin with, 
made it clear that he thought the success of a Catholic Uni- 
versity independent of the State out of the question. But 
he proceeded to do honour to his distinguished English guest. 
In company with his clergy, he entertained Newman at a 
large banquet, and amid the convivial scenes of the evening 
rose and announced to the assembled company that he 
appointed Dr. Newman Vicar-General of the diocese. The 
announcement was received with thunders of applause, and 
the assembly broke out in songs of '98. 

Other adventures are related by him in the following 
letter to Father Austin Mills: 

'Cork: February 22nd, 1854. 

'My dear Austin, Though you are not Secretary, yet as 
Fr. Edward is a new hand, perhaps you will inform him how 
best to bring the following before the Congregatio Deputata. 
I submit part of a sketch of a new work, which must be sub- 
mitted to two Fathers; I propose to call it "The doleful 
disasters and curious catastrophes of a traveller in the wilds 
of the West." I have sketched five chapters as below: 

( i. The first will contain a series of varied and brilliant 
illustrations of the old proverb "more know Tom Fool than 
Tom Fool knows." 

( 2. The second will relate how at Carlow a large party of 
priests was asked to meet the author at dinner, after which the 
said author, being fatigued with the day, went to sleep and 
was awakened from a refreshing repose, by his next neighbour 
on the right shouting in his ear: " Gentlemen, Dr. N. is about 
to explain "to you the plan he proposes for establishing the new 
University," an announcement which the said Dr. N. does 
aver most solemnly took him utterly by surprise, and he can 
not think what he could have said in his sleep which could 
have been understood to mean something so altogether foreign 
to his intentions and habits. However, upon this announce- 
ment, the author was obliged to speak and answer questions, in 
which process he made mistakes and contradicted himself, to 
the clear consciousness and extreme disgust of the said author. 

'3. Chapter third will detail the merry conceit of the 
Paddy who drove him from the Kilkenny Station, and who, 
instead of taking him to the Catholic Bishop's, took him to 
the Protestant Superintendent's palace, a certain O'Brien,,, 


who now for 15 years past has been writing against him, the 
author, and calling him bad names, and how the said 
carman deposited him at the door of the Protestant Palace, 
and drove away; and how he kept ringing and no one came; 
and how at last he ventured to attempt and open the hall 
door without leave, and found himself inside the house, and 
made a noise in vain and how, when his patience was 
exhausted, he advanced further in and went up some steps 
and looked about him, and still found no one at all all 
along thinking it the house of the true Bishop, and a very 
fine one too. And how at last he ventured to knock at a 
room door, and how at length out came a scullery-maid and 
assured him that the master was in London; whereupon, 
gradually, the true state of the case unfolded itself to his 
mind, and lie began to think that had that Superintendent 
been at home, a servant would have answered the bell and 
he should 'have sent in his card or cartel with his own name 
upon it for the inspection of the said Superintendent. 

'4. And the fourth chapter of the work will go on to 
relate how the Bishop of Ossory pleasantly suggested, when 
he heard of the above, that the carman's mistake was caused 
by a certain shepherd's plaid which the author had upon his 
shoulders, by reason of which he (the author) might be 
mistaken for a Protestant parson. And this remark will 
introduce the history of the said plaid, and how the author 
went to Father Stanislas Flanagan's friend, Mr. Geoghegan 
in Sackville Street, and asked for a clerical wrapper, on which 
the said plaid was shown him, and he objecting to it as not 
clerical, the shopman on the contrary assured him it was. 
Whereupon in his simplicity he bought the said plaid and 
took it with him on his travels and left behind him his good 
Propaganda cloak; and how now he does not know what to 
do, for he is wandering over the wide world in a fantastic 
dress like a Merry Andrew, yet with a Roman collar on. 

'5. And the fifth chapter will narrate his misadventure at 
Waterford how he went to the Ursuline convent there and 
the Acting Superior determined he should see all the young 
ladies of the school, to the number of seventy, all dressed in 
blue, with medals on, some blue, some green, some red 
and how he found he had to make them a speech and how 
he puzzled and fussed himself what on earth he should say 
impromptu to a parcel of school-girls; and how, in his 
distress, he did make what he considered his best speech; 
and how, when it was ended, the Mother school-mistress did 


not know he had made it, or even begun it, and still asked 
for his speech. And how he would not, because he could 
not, make a second speech; and how, to make it up, he 
asked for a holiday for the girls; and how the Mother school- 
mistress flatly refused him, by reason (as he verily believes) 
because she would not recognise and accept his speech, and 
wanted another, and thought she had dressed up her girls 
for nothing; and how he nevertheless drank her raspberry 
vinegar, which much resembles a nun's anger, being a sweet 
acid, and how he thought to himself, it being his birthday, 
that he was full old to be forgiven if he could not at a 
moment act the spiritual jack pudding to a girls' school. 

'This is as much as I have to send you. Would you 
kindly add your own criticisms and those of the two 

'Love to all. Ever yours affectionately, 

J. H. N.' 

Newman returned to England on March 20, and opened 
the Brompton Oratory on the 22nd. Two brief visits to 
Ireland were made in April and May the earlier being 
on the occasion of the consecration of Dr. Moriarty, after- 
wards his fast friend, as Bishop of Kerry. On June 3 he 
crossed the Channel again for his formal installation as Rector, 
which took place on the following day Whitsunday. 

'I have just got home after the ceremony,' he writes 
to St. John. 'Henry Wilberforce is sitting by me. . . . 
The Church was more crowded than ever known. The 
Archbishop ended with a very touching address to me. 
How I am to continue in Birmingham (entre nous) turns 
my head.' 

The opening of the School of Philosophy and Letters 
was fixed for November 3 following. 

After a holiday spent in England, Newman returned to 
Ireland on September 5. His English friends long remem- 
bered his sadness and his resignation. When he had pre- 
viously thought of resigning if Dr. Cullen refused to grant 
certain concessions, he had written to Mr. Hope-Scott: 'I 
believe it will not come to this. I believe I shall get my way 
and plunge myself apertis if not sictis oculis into the deep, 
with its monstra natantia.' And now the plunge was taken, 
and the eyes were tear-stained. He was for years to come 


'harnessed as a horse to a cart' he often returned to this 
metaphor to a scheme in the possibility of which he had 
already come to have little or no belief. The School oi 
Philosophy and Letters was duly opened in November. 
Newman chose as the subject for his inaugural address 
'Christianity and Letters.' The address is well known. It 
was a forcible plea for the study of the classics as an instru- 
ment of mental cultivation. And he urged that the liberal 
arts, as being part of the Roman civilisation out of which 
Christianity grew, were the normal and proper means of 
cultivating the Christian intellect. 

How many of his auditors, it may be wondered, observed 
the note of pathos and despondency which almost uninten- 
tionally introduced itself into his peroration? The lecture 
was written, as the occasion demanded, to celebrate 'the 
great undertaking which we have so auspiciously com- 
menced 3 ; he did his very best to assume the attitude of 
hopefulness which the inauguration of a great enterprise 
imperatively demanded; but his tone could not in the event 
sustain the note of confident anticipation. Neither could 
he bring himself to adopt the position of active antagonism 
to the Queen's Colleges which Dr. Cullen desired. Moreover, 
the temporary character of his own connection with the new 
University was emphasised in this his first public address to 
its members. 

'For myself,' he said, *I have never had any misgiving 
about [the scheme], because I had never known anything of it 
before the time when the Holy See had definitely decided upon 
its prosecution. It is my happiness to have no cognizance of 
the anxieties and perplexities of venerable and holy prelates, 
or the discussions of experienced and prudent men, which 
preceded its definitive recognition on the part of the high- 
est ecclesiastical authority. It is my happiness to have no 
experience of the time when good Catholics despaired of its 
success, distrusted its expediency, or even felt an obligation 
to oppose it. It has been my happiness that I have never 
been in controversy with persons in this country external to 
the Catholic Church, nor have been forced into any direct 
collision with institutions or measures which rest on a founda- 
tion hostile to Catholicism. No one can accuse me of any 
disrespect towards those whose principles or whose policy I 


disapprove; nor am I conscious of any other aim than that of 
working in my own place, without going out of my way to 
offend others. If I have taken part in the undertaking which 
has now brought us together, it has been because I believed 
it was a great work, great in its conception, great in its 
promise, and great in the authority from which it proceeds. 
I felt it to be so great that I did not dare to incur the 
responsibility of refusing to take part in it. 

'How far, indeed, and how long, I am to be connected 
with it, is another matter altogether. It is enough for one 
man to lay only one stone of so noble and grand an edifice; 
it is enough more than enough for me if I do so much 
as merely begin what others may more hopefully continue. 
One only among the sons of men has carried out a perfect 
work, and satisfied and exhausted the mission on which He 
came. One alone has with His last breath said "Consum- 
matum est." But all who set about their duties in faith and 
hope and love, with a resolute heart and a devoted will, 
are able, weak though they be, to do what, though incom- 
plete, is imperishable. Even their failures become successes, as 
being necessary steps in a course, and as terms (so to say) in 
a long series which will at length fulfil the object which they 
propose. And they will unite themselves in spirit, in their 
humble degree, with those real heroes of Holy Writ and 
ecclesiastical history, Moses, Elias, and David; Basil, Athan- 
asius, and Chrysostom; Gregory the Seventh, St. Thomas of 
Canterbury, and many others, who did most when they 
fancied themselves least prosperous, and died without being 
permitted to see the fruit of their labours.' 



NEWMAN settled down to the routine work of the University. 
He had lodged at first in Rutland Square, when he gave the 
lectures of 1852, but soon moved so he tells us in his Notes 
and lived ' as a boarder in Dr. Quinn's school in Harcourt 
Street. 5 He kept his rooms from that date until he removed 
in the same year into Mrs. Segrave's house in the same street, 
which he rented. This was his house when he came to reside 
in Dublin, and here he often invited his friends to breakfast 
or dine with him. 

Keeping house was a new experience to him, and not 
entirely congenial. C I have no plate here/ he writes to 
Henry Wilberforce in November 1854, 'but a few electro 
plated spoons and forks and feel the full value of "Can- 
tabit vacuus &c." It is odd, I should begin to keep house 
at 53. For the first time I heard the cook (Martin Jones) 
call me " master." It shocked me so much that I forbade 
the word and am to be called "the Rector," "the Father/' 
anything or all things but it.' 

A month later, after term had begun, we find him again 
writing to Henry Wilberforce, whose eldest son Arthur (after- 
wards Father Bertrand Wilberforce) wished to reside in New- 
man's house in Dublin and attend the University lectures. 
The letter is hopeful in tone, but the figures it gives do not 
speak of any great success in obtaining undergraduates. 

'We are doing well here/ he writes. 'Our Inaugural 
Lectures are telling. We began with 17 youths in lecture 
we have risen in the course of the term to 27. We commence 
next term with 33 certain. I have 8 in my house. It is 
impossible for me now to take Arthur for some time, and 
that is why I wrote to you about him before I was so full. 


He may well wait at Ushaw. I am to have in my house 
2 English, 2 Irish, and 2 French & 2 Scotch.' 

Newman threw himself with keen interest into his work. 
It is clear that the idea of the University as an intellectual 
and spiritual centre was prominent in his mind, and that he 
thought of its influence on society at large as well as on its 
alumni. He has left an interesting memorandum enumerat- 
ing the principal objects which he endeavoured to accomplish 
during the term of his office. These were: 

(i) The foundation of a University Church as a centre 
of influence on the cultivated classes in Dublin, as well as on 
the actual students of the University; and the foundation of 
an Oratory as its complement. 

(2) A scheme for setting up a periodical organ of the 
University in the Catholic University Gazette. 

(3) The establishment of medical schools, to which he 
hoped to add a school of science on a larger scale, an astro- 
nomical observatory and chemical laboratory. 

(4) The special encouragement of Celtic literature. 
Furthermore, he hoped to obtain a charter from the State 

which should make the University a corporation, and enable 
it to hold property; while the students could obtain their 
theological degrees from Rome, and degrees in science and 
arts from the Queen's University. 

In some of these objects he succeeded, though not in all. 

(i) The University Church was the development of a 
less ambitious project. He at first contemplated only a small 
chapel attached to his house in Harcourt Street as a suitable 
locale for University sermons. He felt that the pulpit 
afforded him a very special opportunity for influence, both 
moral and intellectual,, on the educated classes. He coveted 
for this reason a position analogous to the Mastership of the 
Temple Church in London. On this subject Father Neville 
has left the following note: 

'The Mastership of the Temple Church in London had 
always been regarded by Dr. Newman as his beau ideal of 
a position for religious influence, Oxford, he said, with all 
its advantages, had the drawback of being a place of but 
temporary residence, its members coming and going within a 
very limited time. Upon those who remained there long, 


this gradual flowing away of those who had surrounded 
them, could not but have a most isolating effect, making 
them, as it were, more and more out of place; a disadvantage 
which, he said, must soon have applied to himself, had he 
remained there. At the Temple, however, was to be found 
an audience which for trained powers of mind was, perhaps, 
unique; an audience, moreover, that was unshifting, and 
thus able to follow the "Master's" current of thought year 
after year. Now Dublin also was famous for the number 
and the standing of its Lawyers; the Medical Faculty, too, 
was in high repute; he felt that he could do a work among 
these that he had not had the opportunity of attempting else- 
where; and he had the hope that his intended little Chapel, 
with the Rectorship of the University, would afford him a 
sphere of influence, the best that in his circumstances he could 
have. On one occasion reminding those who stood by him 
discussing this plan, how much he had done at Oxford with 
the aid of a few others, he said: "Was it not a good work I 
began in Adam de Brome's Chapel at Oxford? Why then 
should not just such another serve me here in Dublin, and 
I not do better work with the grace of being a Catholic?"' 

When he found himself unable to secure the premises he 
had wanted for his chapel, his thoughts passed to the more 
ambitious plan of a University Church and Oratory. He 
thought of these as a centre of influence for other preachers 
as well as himself. He had in mind as a precedent the Uni- 
versity Sermons preached by select preachers at Oxford. 
He writes of this plan as follows: 

'I thought (i) Nothing was a more simple and complete 
advertisement of the University than a large Church open 
for worship; the cheapest advertisement, since, if self- 
supporting, it cost the University nothing, yet was perpetual 
and in the face of day. (2) It symbolized the great principle 
of the University, the indissoluble union of philosophy with 
religion. (3) It provided for University formal acts, for 
Degree-giving, for solemn lectures and addresses, such as 
those usual at the opening and closing of the Academical 
year, for the weekly display of the University authorities, &c., 
a large hall at once, and one which was ennobled by the 
religious symbols which were its furniture. (4) It interested 
the clergy in the University, the preachers being taken from 
all parts of the country. 


' Further than this, I connected it in my anticipations 
with the idea I had, and which Hope-Scott suggested in his 
letter at the end of December, 1853, f founding an Oratory 
at Dublin. My notion was that an Oratory would be the 
religious complement of an Intellectual School; that it 
would not take part in the work proper to a University, 
but that it would furnish preachers and confessors for 
the University body, establish confraternities, and in all 
the many ways which the Church employs, counteract the 
dangers incident to a high school of learning and science, 
and a large collection of young men entering into life. 
When I went to Rome on Oratory business at Christmas, 
1855-56, 1 brought the matter before Cardinal Barnabo, with 
the sanction and promise of aid of Dr. Cullen. He was to 
obtain for me a Brief. Whether he gave me a letter or 
promised to write to Rome about it, I do not know. 
Nothing came of my application*. 

'As early as loth February, 1854, I find I got Dr. 
Moriarty to give me a list of preachers. In the second 
number of the University Gazette, 8th June, I say: '-It is 
also proposed to open a University Church, for the solemn 
exercises of the Academical body, as time goes on, and for 
sermons on Sundays and other great Festivals at once. A 
list of University preachers is in preparation, and will appear 
with as little delay as possible/" 

It was some time before he was enabled to build the Uni- 
versity Church. Dr. Cullen did not take up the idea warmly, 
and did not see his way to helping the scheme financially. At 
first it was thought that some existing church would serve 
the purpose, and St. Audeon's in the High Street was proposed 
as a suitable building. But this plan broke down, and in the 
end the present beautiful church at Stephen's Green was built 
by Newman himself, who utilised for the purpose a portion 
of the excess of the money subscribed for the expenses of the 
Achilli trial over what was actually required to meet them. 

'In November, 1854,' he writes, 'I got acquainted with Mr. 
Pollen, Professor (honorary) of the Fine Arts, and I employed 
him as my architect, or rather decorator, for my idea was to 
build a large barn, and decorate it in the style of a Basilica, 
with Irish marbles and copies of standard pictures. I set 
about the building at once, and it was solemnly opened on 
May ist, 1856.' 


This church, was a source of great satisfaction to New- 
man. His critical interest in it, as well as his appreciation 
of its beauty, are visible in a letter to Mr. Pollen dated 
November 9, 1856: 

' The apse is magnificent/ he writes, ' that is the wordit is 
not yet quite splendid. The green marble behind the candles 
is faulty in two ways, (i) It is too dark, and, if expensive, is 
thrown away and (2) the line of its finish, too abrupt. The 
pattern of my glass is very good, but it wants (what the ground 
will have) colour, to connect and harmonize the testudo with 
the alabaster. The Cartoons, to my eye, require a ground 
above them, perhaps round them; but I expect you will 
differ. The chandeliers promise very well. Altogether it is 
most imposing I should like to hear what others say. . . . 

'P.S. I have come from High Mass, The more I looked 
at the apse, the more beautiful it seemed to me and, to my 
taste, the church is the most beautiful one in the three 
Kingdoms. The day is a dark one, and I wanted it light.' 

Newman devoted the greatest care to the services, the 
music, the ceremonies, the vestments; and he looked forward, 
as Father Neville testifies, to his church being perfect in 
these respects. The church itself, in its style and decorations, 
was the outcome of his own suggestions, the ancient churches 
of Rome serving him largely as a model. It was in this church, 
that he preached a considerable number of the discourses pub- 
lished afterwards under the title of c Occasional Sermons/ 

(2) As to the University Gazette, Newman hoped that it 
' would contain a record of the University proceedings, would 
be a medium of intelligence between its governing body and 
members, would give a phantasia of life to it in the eyes of 
strangers, and would indoctrinate the Irish public in the idea 
of a University/ f l commenced it, 5 he writes, Contempo- 
raneously with my own installation in June, 1854, and inserted 
in it the papers on Universities which I had written with a 
yiew to it in the Spring of the year/ Newman edited the 
Gazette himself for a year, and printed in its pages the very 
important Essays and Historical Studies afterwards repub- 
lishfed under the title of the 'Idea of a University/ 1 and now 

1 This title was afterwards transferred to a volume containing the Lectures 
on the Scope wii Nature of University 'Education, and other Dublin lectures of 
a later date. 


contained in the third volume of his 'Historical Sketches.' 
It was afterwards edited by Mr. Ornsby. 

'It fully answered my expectations/ writes Newman of 
the Gazette, 'while it was in my hands; afterwards it fell off 
and came to an end.' 

(3) The Medical School House in Cecilia Street was a 
complete success, and survives to this day. It was pur- 
chased by Newman in the summer of 1856, at the instance 
of Dr. Ellis, and it proved an immense boon in training 
Catholic practitioners, and securing work for them. 

'This House served another purpose besides that which 
was its direct service to us/ Newman writes. 'It put our 
Medical Faculty in a bodily, visible shape before the Dublin 
public, and thus did for the University in regard to that 
important department what the Church was to do as regards 
theological and religious teaching. And it came into operation 
at once, for the Theatre, Dissecting Rooms, etc., etc., were all 
in order and recent use, whereas the Church was not built 
and opened till the Spring of 1856.' 

Mr. W. K. Sullivan made the additional suggestion of a 
Medical Lodging House for the protection of the young 
medical students from the moral dangers of a large city. 

The Medical Schools from the first promised success, and 
Newman very soon conceived the idea of developing them, 
so as to form a complete school of science. In this bold idea 
he had the concurrence of Mr. Sullivan. He writes as fol- 
lows on the subject: 

'Mr. Sullivan, whose advice I acted under, was all 
through my time of great assistance to me. His views were 
large and bold, and I cordially embraced them. The old 
routine was to depend on external support, prestige, authority, 
etc., and of course such helps are not to be despised; but 
they are not all in all, nor are they imperative. It was a 
great point to gain the Medical House, but it was not every- 
thing. Dr. Ellis did well in getting it for us, but he had 
little idea of making ventures. I have the following note in 
my Journal, under the date of 25th January, -1855: "I have 
had a talk with Mr. Sullivan about the Medical Professor- 
ships. He took quite a different line from Mr. O'Reilly 
(Surgeon), and Mr. Ellis, etc., who had said, 'Who will you 
get to come until you get a whole school? for your certificate 


will not be taken.' But he took the line, 'Raise up some- 
thing good, and people will come; the supply will create the 
demand. 3 And he said that there were three provinces 
unknown in the United Kingdom, except that something 
has been lately doing in Edinburgh, viz., Physiology, 
Pathology, Pharmacy. He was for employing German 
Professors (Catholics); he said they were good Catholics." 
He and Dr. Lyons were the movement party among the 
Medical Professors afterwards, and Drs. Ellis, Haydn, and 
Swiny the conservative. 

'The establishment of a good School of Science was one 
of the foremost objects which I kept in view. I consulted 
the Observer (Manuel Johnson) at Oxford about an Astro- 
nomical Observatory; and he wished me rather to establish 
a Meteorological (vide Journal, p. 41). This I tried to do, 
with Mr. Hennessy for Professor; but I never was able even 
to begin it. 

'A Chemical Laboratory I fitted up in the Medical 
House at a considerable expense in 1856.' 

The Atlantis magazine of which more shall be said 
later on was designed as an aid to the scientific depart- 
ment of the University. 'It was started/ Newman writes, 
'with the object of encouraging our scientific labours, and 
forming the faculty, and making its members work together, 
and advertising the University. The literary portion of it 
was necessary as padding, because science does not deal in 
words, and the results of a year's experiments may be con- 
tained in one or two pages.' 

(4) The subject of Celtic literature was suggested by 
Dr. Moriarty, Bishop of Kerry, as one specially suitable to 
a University in Dublin, and Mr. Eugene O'Curry (a man of 
whom Newman speaks as possessing a unique knowledge 
of Celtic MSS.) was at hand to help the scheme forward. 

Newman regarded the work done in the event by 
Mr. O'Curry as one of the real achievements of the 

'Mr. O'Curry/ he writes, 'lectured for us and published 
one thick volume on the sources of Irish history; I think at 
the University's expense. I believe Mr, Sullivan, since his 
lamentable and unexpected death, is engaged in publishing 
a second. These are real works, and acquisitions which 


would, to all appearance, have been, lost to the world but for 
the University. Also, in the course of a year or two, I went 
to the expense of having a font of Irish type cast for the use 
of the University; there being up to that time only the 
Trinity College type, and I think one other/ 

The question of State recognition for the University was 
of course a very grave one.- 

'The go-ahead Irish party/ writes Newman, 'were for 
giving Degrees at all risks, and in spite of consequences. I 
liked the idea of the latter course myself, but did not think 
we were up to it. If Bishops and University authorities as 
one man, adopted this policy without wavering, and with a 
stern determination to carry it out, I should have been for it, 
but this not only was not likely, but I knew they would not; 
the feeling of our English friends was so strong against it. 
And, moreover, I have no clear view what was the good of 
conferring Degrees till we have a name, though of course the 
two years which would be gained in preparation time for 
being called to the bar was no slight advantage. But on the 
whole Irish schools, etc., would take out testamurs and 
honours, whether they had legal value or not. What I 
most inclined to was the Louvain plan, which was the more 
to the purpose because our University was set up in our 
Brief after the pattern of Louvain. There Theological 
Degrees are given by power from Rome; and Degrees in 
other Faculties by passing examination before the State 
Board of Examiners. . '. . Accordingly I wished the State 
to charter us so far as to make us a corporation and to 
enable us to hold property; and then we should have power 
from Rome for Theology and for Arts for Church purposes, 
and then our youths might go to the Queen's University for 
their Degrees in Arts, Medicine, and Law. As early as 
March, 1854, this idea was suggested to me. In my Journal, 
under date of the i6th, I note down: " Yesterday at All- 
hallows. It was suggested, as it had struck me already, that 
the Belgian way was a precedent for our getting Degrees 
by passing examinations before the Queen's University. 
Only, since in Belgium there is a Concordat, or the like, 
things must be very different from here, where Catholicism is 
ignored. Would the judges be fair to Catholics?" ... I 
think it was in 1856 that I wrote a long letter to Monsell 
advocating the plan, and I spoke of it to many others, but it 
met with acceptance in no quarter/ 


Newman always spoke of the absence of a charter and of 
State recognition as one among the causes of the failure of 
the University. 1 

The Rector's work for the University did not prevent him 
from writing even on subjects unconnected with its conduct. 
Two characteristic literary efforts belong to the period of his 
connection with the University. 'Callista/ begun in 1849, 
and laid aside, was finished in 1856. His letters tell us no 
more than the bare fact; and the book is so well known 
that I shall say no more of it here. Less well known are the 
letters of 1854 on the Crimean War written to the Catholic 
Standard and signed ' Catholicus.' 'Who's to blame' for the 
disasters which marked the first months of the war? this 
is the question he discusses. 2 

The most memorable passages from these letters are 
those in which Newman analyses the genius of the English 
Constitution and the characteristic temper of John Bull. 
The- average Britisher was at the moment abusing soldiers, 
sailors, statesmen everyone but himself as responsible for 
the disasters. Yet Newman held that the British public 
was really more to blame than anyone else. John Bull, the 
free English citizen whose house was his castle, had decreed 
the war. That very British Constitution which was the off- 
spring of the temper of John Bull and the protector of his 
liberties, hampered at every turn the executive, which had to 
wage the war for which John Bull himself had clamoured. 

'England, surely/ he writes, c is the paradise of little men, 
and the purgatory of great ones. May I never be a Minister 
of State or Field-Marshal! I'd be an individual, self- 
respecting Briton, in my own private castle, with the Times 
to see the world by, and pen and paper to scribble off withal 
to some public print, and set the world right. Public men 

1 After Newman's retirement in 1859 a deputation of Members of Parliament 
Protestant as well as Catholic among whom were Mr. Maguire, Mr. Deasy, 
and Mr. Bowyer (afterwards Sir George Bowyer), Waited on the Chancellor of 
the Exchequer (at that time Mr. Disraeli) with the request that the University 
should be given legal power to grant degrees. Nothing came at the time of the 
request, but it may be remembered that it was Mr. Disraeli himself who in 1879 
gave Irish Catholics their first University endowment in connection with the 
Royal University. 

2 The letters were headed 'Who's to Blame?' 


are only my employes; I use them as I think fit, and turn 
them off without warning, Aberdeen, Gladstone, Sidney 
Herbert, Newcastle, what are they muttering about services 
and ingratitude? were they not paid? hadn't they their 
regular quarter-day? Raglan, Burgoyne, Dundas, I can't 
recollect all the fellows' names, can they merit aught? can 
they be profitable to me their lord and master? And so, 
having no tenderness or respect for their persons, their 
antecedents or their age, not caring that in fact they are 
serving me with all their strength, not asking whether, if 
they manage ill, it be not, perchance, because they are in the 
fetters of Constitutional red tape, which have weighed on 
their hearts and deadened their energies, till the hazard of 
failure and the fear of censure have quenched the spirit of 
daring, I think it becoming and generous, during, not after, 
their work, not when it is ended, but in the very agony of 
conflict, to institute a formal process of inquiry into their 
demerits, not secret, not indulgent to their sense of honour, 
but in the hearing of all Europe and amid the scorn of 
the world, hitting down, knocking over, my workhouse 
apprentices, in order that they may get up again, and do my 
matters for me better.' 

In point of fact, the very idea of the British Constitution 
is that everything is to be done by the nation. Every class 
is to have a share in determining what is done. This secures 
liberty, but it is fatal to first-rate efficiency. And while in 
time of peace it prevents tyranny on the part of the executive, 
it hampers it hopelessly in time of war. 

'Put a sword into the Ruler's hands, it is at his option to 
use or not use it against you; reclaim it, and who is to use 
it for you? Thus, if States are free, they are feeble; if they 
are vigorous, they are high-handed. I am not speaking of a 
nation or a people, but of a State as such; and I say, the 
more a State secures to itself of rule and centralization, the 
more it can do for its subjects externally; and the more it 
grants to them of liberty and self-government, the less it can 
do against them internally: and thus a despotic government 
is the best for war, and a popular government the best for 

The main thesis he maintains is that a constitutional 
government cannot efficiently control a war, and should 
therefore be very slow to enter into one. 

VOL. i. N 


'John Bull, like other free, self-governing nations, would 
undertake a little war just now, as if it were his forte, as 
great lawyers have cared for nothing but a reputation for 
dancing gracefully, and literary men have bought a com- 
plex coat-of-anns at the Heralds' College. Why will we 
not be content to be human? why not content with the 
well-grounded consciousness that no polity in the world is 
so wonderful, so good to its subjects, so favourable to indi- 
vidual energy, so pleasant to live under, as our own? I 
do not say, why will we go to war? but why will we not 
think twice first? why do we not ascertain our actual posi- 
tion, our strength, our weakness, before we do so? 

'And now however circuitously I have answered my 
question, "Who's to blame for the untoward events in the 
Crimea?" They are to blame, the ignorant, intemperate 
public, who clamour for an unwise war, and then, when it 
turns out otherwise than they expected, instead of acknow- 
ledging their fault, proceed to beat their zealous servants in 
the midst of the fight for not doing impossibilities. 7 

I could wish that materials were available for an adequate 
account of Newman's personal influence during these years in 
Dublin. He held evening receptions for the young men of 
the town, at which he gave conferences. And he found 
opportunity for social intercourse with others. The influence 
he thus exercised was, so Father Neville used to say, memo- 
rable; though it was confined to a comparatively small group. 
Something of the old fascination social, spiritual, and intel- 
lectual combined which had enthralled the elite of Oxford 
in the later thirties seems to have made itself felt once again 
in Dublin, among members of a race especially appreciative 
of intellectual distinction and charm. 

'Newman often entertained members of the Irish clergy 
and laity to dinner at Har court Street, 3 wrote the late Mr. 
John Pollen in a letter to myself. ' Bishop Moriarty was, 
however, the only Bishop who came. The Rector talked 
especially freely and brilliantly with all these Irish friends, 
and keenly appreciated the wit and genius of some of them. 
He considered the Irish clergy (with whom he was very 
popular) on the whole to be large-minded, although there 
were some who shared Dr. Cullen's less liberal attitude of 
mind. With myself and other Oxford friends he was fond of 
returning to Oxford memories and the halo of Oxford came 


back to him very strongly at this time. He received from 
time to time distinguished visitors. Acton and Dollinger 
were greatly interested in Newman's work in Ireland, and I 
entertained both of them at my rooms. 7 

But there ever seems to have hung over the Rector the 
shadow of actual and prospective misunderstanding with the 
leaders of the Episcopate. 

' Newman had a constant sense/ continues Mr. Pollen, 
'that he was in a hornets' nest. Some of the Bishops did not 
give him his proper place having a conception of their 
position which was incompatible with treating him as an 
equal. Newman on his side preserved towards them an 
attitude of painstaking politeness. He was also tried by the 
line taken by these prelates in respect of intellectual prob- 
lems. "They regard any intellectual man as being on the 
road to perdition," he said.' 

In point of fact, for various reasons, there was a cloud 
over his work from first to last. 

No work can be carried on at all without some hope; 
and we find letters from Newman in the course of the three 
years of his effective Rectorship for he ceased to reside 
at the end of 1857 in which he makes the best of things. 
But on the whole it is clear that he never seriously changed 
the view which he formed in February 1854, that, as a 
practical work, the University was doomed to failure. He 
hoped indeed against hope. He was slow to abandon with- 
out a fair trial the idea that Ireland with its great Catholic 
population might supply a University which should be to the 
Catholics of the Kingdom what Louvain was to the Belgian 
Catholics the home of a liberal education enabling them to 
be a real power in the country in proportion to their 
numerical strength. But towards the realisation of this hope 
no event seemed to point. What good purpose then could 
be served by his continued service in a hopeless enterprise? 
But, moreover, incompatibility between the views of Dr. 
Cullen and of Newman made the prolongation of the experi- 
ment impossible. The year 1855 was nearly reached when the 
University was started; and in 1856 Newman definitely 
announced to Dr. Cullen that his resignation was to take 
place in the following year. 


Nevertheless it may fairly be said that the reference 
in Newman's inaugural address to those saints 'who did 
most when they fancied themselves least prosperous and died 
without being permitted to see the fruit of their labours' 
was, in some respects, singularly apposite. The painful 
experiment afforded Newman an incentive to write at the 
call of duty on the most vital question of the hour for the 
interests of the Church namely, how a thoroughly liberal 
education could be possible for Catholics, with their tenacity 
to tradition and strict views as to the rights of ecclesiastical 
authority, in face of the fresh vista of discoveries and the 
new view of the world which scientific history and physical 
science were opening up. Without such a call, as he often 
said, he could not bring himself to write at all. And without 
experience of the actual conditions of a Catholic University he 
could hardly have dealt with it practically and successfully. 

I shall first set forth briefly the events which contributed 
to the failure of the experiment of Newman 3 s Rectorship, 
and I will then give some analysis of his principal contri- 
butions to. the science ol Catholic education. 

Although Newman believed that the success of the 
University was, according to all human calculations, almost 
impossible, still he meant to do his very best to falsify his 
own prediction. He bargained at the outset for a free 
hand as the only chance of carrying through what appeared 
so unpromising, and he regarded his position as a Bishop (as 
we have seen) to be quite essential. It would give him just 
that status which he required for dealing with a hierarchy 
whose habits of absolute rule might otherwise have denied 
him the required independence. 

But one thing he had not counted on. It was Cardinal 
Wiseman and not the Irish Bishops who had induced the 
Holy Father to promise him a Bishopric, It was Cardinal 
Wiseman who had asked to be allowed to consecrate 
him. Those very traditions among the Irish Bishops which 
made the position of Bishop so necessary to him made it also, 
it would seem, unwelcome to some of them. And they stayed 
further proceedings in the matter by their representations in 
Rome. Let us read the story as told in Newman's own Notes: 


' When I saw Dr. Ullathorne first on his return from Rome, 
between June 8th and 1 2th (1854) he had said : " Why are younot 
consecrated? it depends on you. You have to name the time, 
&c., &c. ;; I perplexed him by my answer that I had not received 
the Briefs or any official intelligence of the Pope's intention, 

'But long before this Dr. Cullen knew that I was not to 
receive the honour proposed. I judge so from the way in 
which he commented on the University Brief of March 2oth. 
He had sent me word January ipth that the Pope most 
probably would accompany the issuing of the Brief by some 
"mark of distinction'' in my favour, and Cardinal Wiseman 
told him distinctly that that distinction was elevation to the 
Episcopal dignity. To this I was to offer no opposition. 
But now, showing me the University Brief, he pointed out to 
me the words: "Newman, egregiis animi dotibus ornatus" 
&c., and said in an awkward and hurried manner: "You 
see how the Pope speaks of you here is the "distinction." 

'It was on the i2th of June that Dr. Manning wrote to 
me apropos of my formal installation as Rector on June 3rd, 
in these words: 

'"I give you joy on the beginning of your great work, 
On the point affecting yourself, I gathered (!) from the Car- 
dinal (Wiseman) that it was thought right to wait till the 
University had a formal existence. This I suppose will be 
accomplished already by this inauguration. 35 I wonder what 
would have happened if I had refused, as another man might 
have done, to be installed until I was consecrated. 

'The Cardinal never wrote to me a single word, or sent 
any sort of message to me, in explanation of the change of 
intention about me, till the day of his death. His letter 
above transcribed l is the beginning and the end of his appear- 
ance in this transaction. His concluding words were that 
he hoped to have the consolation of consecrating me. Nor 
did Dr. Cullen, nor Dr. Grant, nor Dr. Ullathorne, nor any- 
one else ever again say one single word on the subject; nor 
did they make any chance remark by which I have been able 
to form any idea why that elevation which was thought by 
Pope, Cardinal, and Archbishop, so expedient for the Uni- 
versity, or at least so settled a point, and which was so pub- 
licly announced, was suddenly and silently reversed. 

'My friends for a long time did not realize the fact [that 
the scheme was finally abandoned]. In February 1855 Dr. 
Ullathorne wrote to me: 

1 See p. 330. 


'"I cannot make out why certain Prelates should, have 
opposed the Pope's intentions already conveyed to yourself 
how it can help the University or how it accords with so 
many precedents practised at Rome especially. I, of course, 
subscribe to the Pope's judgment, though I do not see through 
it. I suppose it is but a present delay." 

'On my return from Rome in February 1856, Badeley 
wrote to me under date of March 25th: 

"I was in some hope that, when the Pope got you at the 
Vatican, he would take the opportunity to make you a Bishop, 
before he sent you home. When is this to be? " 

f Miss Giberne, to my great vexation, one day when she 
had an audience of the Pope, said without circumlocution 
what she had also said to Cardinal Antonelli: "Holy Father, 
why don't you make Father Newman a Bishop? 7 ' She 
reported that he looked much confused and took a great 
deal of snuff. 

'Dr. Ullathorne referred to the catastrophe once in Jan- 
uary 1860. He had just returned from Rome, and reported 
to Father Ambrose St. John the dissatisfaction of some 
Roman authorities with an article which I had written in 
the Rambler of July 1859. He said that he had excused me 
to Cardinal Barnabo on the ground that I had had a great 
deal to bear in various ways, and that I had been disap- 
pointed in a Bishopric. This seemed to make an impression 
on Cardinal Barnabo, for Dr. Ullathorne's report was that, 
if I went to Rome and explained matters to the satisfaction 
of the Authorities, there was the prospect of my returning 
to England a Bishop, 

'For myself, I never asked anyone a single question from 
first to last on the subject, first of the delay and then of the 
abandonment of the intention. It never occupied my 
thoughts. The prospect of it faded out of my mind, as the 
delay was more and more prolonged. I felt that to be a 
Bishop then (in Ireland) would have singularly helped me 
in my work, but I should never have been able to resign if 
I had taken such wages; I might have been in Ireland till 
now. I am ever thankful to St. Philip for having saved me 
from this. "Sic me servavit Apollo.'" 

The extraordinary apparent discourtesy of the proceedings 
just narrated undoubtedly cast a shadow on Newman's work 
from the beginning. Moreover, while he disdained to move 
a finger in the matter, his anticipations were verified, and 


the practical independence which he demanded as the con- 
dition of any chance of success for the University was not 
accorded to him. He found, on the contrary, that he was 
expected at every turn to get leave from the Bishops before 
acting in his official capacity. And if he omitted to do so 
he did not obtain from them the support on which he had 

At the very outset, when the University Professors were 
being engaged, Newman had found that the Archbishop was 
jealous of his English appointments, although Irishmen were 
in a large majority on his staff. 1 Dr. Cullen wrote a letter 
on September 30, 1854, with respect to Mr. Ornsby and 
Mr. Stewart, the Professors of Classics and Ancient History, 
urging that their positions should be temporary. In his 
University Journal, Newman notes this communication as 
' having for its object apparently to get rid of Ornsby and 
Stewart.' He replied on October i. He urged that men of 
talent were not likely to accept temporary appointments. 

Again, when a few days later he notified to the 
Archbishops his purchase of the Medical School, Dr. 

1 The following is the first published list of Professors: 

1. Dogmatic Theology, the Rev. Father Edmund O'Reilly, D.D,, SJ. 

2. Holy Scripture, the Very Rev. Patrick Leahy, D.D. 

3. Archaeology and Irish History, Eugene 0' Curry, Esq., M.R .LA. &c. &c, 

4. Political Economy, John O'Hagan, Esq., M.A. 

5. Geography, J. B. Robertson, Esq. 

6. Classical Literature, Robert Ornsby, Esq., M.A. 

7. Ancient History, James Stewart, Esq., M.A. 

8. Philosophy of History, Thomas W. Allies, Esq., M.A. 

9. Political and Social Science, Aubrey de Vere, Esq. 

10. Poetry, D. Florence Macarthy, Esq. 

11. The Fine Arts, J. H. Pollen, Esq., M.A. 

12. Logic, David Dunne, Esq., D.D. 

13. Mathematics, Edward Butler, Esq., M.A. 

14. Natural Philosophy, Henry Hennessy, Esq., M.A. 

15. Civil Engineering, Terence Flanagan, Esq., M J.C.E. 

16. French Literature, M.' Pierre le Page Renouf. 

17. Italian Literature, Signor Marani. 

18. Practice of Surgery, Andrew Ellis, Esq., F.R.C.S. 

19. Anatomy (i.) Thos. Hayden, Esq., F.R.C.S J. 

20. Anatomy (ii.) Robert Cryan, Esq., L.R.C.S.I. and , and Q.CJP.I. 
21.* Physiology and Pathology, Robert D. Lyons, Esq., M.B.T.C.D. and 


22. Demonstrator in Anatomy, Henry Tyrrell, Esq., L.R.C.S.I. 

23. Demonstrator in Anatomy, John O'Reilly, Esq., L.R.C.S.I. 


McHale complained that the Rector had exceeded his 
powers. 1 

In spite of these initial difficulties the Medical School was 
opened, and the University was manned with a capable staff, 
before the formal inauguration of the School of Arts in 
November 1854, of which I have spoken in the last chapter. 
The inaugural lecture was a success; and for the moment 
Newman writes more hopefully to St. John a brief letter in 
which his habitual recollection of anniversaries is apparent: 

'6, Harcourt St.: Nov. 22nd, 1854. 

'I was in bed this day year, and just getting up to preach. 
Every year brings its changes and mercies. (This day two 
years I was up on the Achilli matter, and Fr. Joseph took to 
his bed.) . . . Help us with a few Masses. 

'I am succeeding here better than I could have expected. 
Dr. Leahy's inaugural lecture, as mine before it, has done us 
great good with Queen's College Catholics and Protestants. 

1 Newman wrote thus to Dr. McHale in reply: 

4 It would be a serious trouble to me to have it brought home to me that I 
had misconceived the powers which your Grace and the other Irish Prelates have 
in so flattering a way bestowed on me as Rector of the new University; and, if 
I have overstepped them in consequence, I beg to offer you my sincere and 
humble apology. . . . 

1 The purchase of the Medical School was one of those measures which I cer- 
tainly did think came upon me by virtue of my position. I never should have 
ventured to trouble the Bishops with a matter of business which was nothing else 
but a part of the work which they have imposed upon me; nor should I have 
been able to form any clear idea of my duties if I had been told that this was not 
included in them. Accordingly, I acted on my own responsibility. When, 
however, the negotiation was brought to a satisfactory issue, the feeling, never 
absent from me, that I am acting for the Bishops, prompted me on the other 
hand at once to acquaint you with my success, by way of offering to you an 
evidence that I was not idling at my post. Writing under these circumstances I 
wrote without form, and I did not keep a copy of my letter; I cannot, however, 
but be surprised and deeply pained to find that I have so expressed myself as to 
admit of the interpretation, foreign to my real meaning, which you have been led 
to give to my words. 

' As to the ad interim appointment of Professors and Lecturers, still more 
distinctly do I bear in mind that they rest with a power more authoritative than 
my own. . . . From the Bishops then I hold whatever powers I possess in the 
University. They have the appointment of Professors, and they can exercise 
their veto at their pleasure upon the names I present to them. But I am 
deliberately of opinion that, if they exercise it in any instance except on definite 
grounds, sufficient in the judgment of each other, they will be making the com- 
mencement of the University an impossible problem to anyone who is not far 
better fitted for the work than I am. Having many instances of their considera- 
tion, I do not fear any such misfortune.' 


Ornsby follows to-morrow. Then again, the University Hall 
is getting on well.' 

This hopeful tone was not sustained, although his letters 
to less intimate friends and his printed utterances in the 
University Gazette continued, until his actual relinquishment 
of office, to express what may be termed 'official 3 hopefulness. 
This was absolutely necessary, for its absence would have 
been quite fatal to the realisation of any faint possibility of 
useful work that existed. 

The main causes which his correspondence brings before 
us of this deepened discouragement after the scheme had had 
a few months' trial were as follows. 

Newman at the outset, as I have said, determined to gain 
for the laity a substantial position in the management of the 
University. .Mr. More OTerrall in October 1854 wrote 
strongly on this subject to 'a friend, and Newman, to whom 
his letter was shown, replied with fullest concurrence, but 
pleaded that the appointment of lay professors was for the 
present the utmost step possible in the desired direction. 

f lf the laity determine to have any immediate recognition 
of their right in ,the administration/ he wrote, 'will it be 
possible to separate this abstract right contended for from a 
de facto interference with me on the other hand on the part 
of the hierarchy? One claim will provoke another. As soon 
as the question of Academical constitution is mooted, I am 
put under restraint; whereas, if the laity are but forbearing 
now, is it not certain that, when the provisional state ends, 
say in three or seven years, the laity, holding a good number 
of professorships, and being members of the University, must 
necessarily secure their due weight in the ordinary govern- 
ment? If they join the University now, they secure their 
due weight in it when it feally deserves the name.' 

Facts, however, did not point to the realisation of the 
hopes held out in this letter. 

The ablest lay professors were, as I have already 
intimated, Englishmen or Young Irelanders; and of the 
influence of both these classes Dr. Cullen was jealous. 1 

; 1 Dr. Moriarty,it may be mentioned, wrote to Newman on May i, 1855, 
strongly dissenting from Dr. Cullen's estimate of the Young Ireland party. 'I 
do not at all share,' he wrote, 'in Dr. Cullen's distrust of those he calls Young 
Irelanders. I hope his Grace will live to know them better.* 

2 N 


Early in the day Dr. Cullen urged Newman to keep the 
University free from the taint of Fenian tenets. 'I trust/ 
he wrote on January 12, 1855, 'you will make every 
exertion to keep the University free from all Young 
Irelandism of which the spirit is so evident in the 
Nation .' 

To neither Englishman nor Young Irelander would 
Dr. Cullen give any power he could help. This soon 
became perfectly clear, and it meant the absence of lay 
influence. The consequences of this were soon felt. 'You 
do not see much of the laity, I do,' Mr. Scratton wrote 
to Newman in March 1855. ^ ma Y te ^ y u we are losing 
their support; and if the University is to be worth anything, 
we cannot do without them. Already James OTerrall 
declares he wfll subscribe no longer; and he .will not ever 
contribute to thejjsupport of the University again unless he 
sees " things" as he; (calls it, "put into proper order/ 7 This 
means, unless he sees that the laity have a fair share of 
the government of the University, and unless he sees that the 
business part of the University is, to a great extent, in the 
hands of laymen. More O'Ferrall, O'Reilly, Barrington, and 
others sympathise strongly in the same view, especially the 

Next among the reasons for discouragement was the 
confirmation of Newman's fear that Dr. Cullen would not 
accord him the freedom for which he had stipulated in the 
appointment of Professors. The appointments of Ornsby and 
Stewart had been reluctantly assented to by Dr. Cullen, and 
now he declined to sanction the appointment of Mr. Thomas 
Arnold 1 as Professor of Literature. Newman wrote for advice 
to Manning on this point, speaking thus early in the day of 
resigning the appointment, which he had only actively held 
for a few months. Manning's reply shows that he considered 
that Newman's fears as to the significance of the objection 
to Mr. Arnold's appointment were somewhat exaggerated. 
But it also brings before us how distinctly the University was 
at that time contemplated as in intention the educational 
centre for English Catholics as well as Irish; and he suggested 
the transference of its site to England itself. 

1 The brother of Matthew Arnold and father of Mrs. Humphry Ward. 


'I showed your letter to Hope 1 and Bellasis' so Man- 
ning wrote in reply on April 12, 1855 'and I think their 
mind was as follows: 

'i. That, if the present arrangement by which you have 
real power in the selection of men be destroyed by the influ- 
ence of the opposite section, it would place you in a position 
in which you could not continue, but, 

( 2. That this is not the state of the facts; nor, as we 
thought from all we hear of Rome, likely to be so; and that, 
as yet, there seems no danger of such an. alternative: again, 

'3. That if such a state of facts should arise, it would be 
advisable, before you give the slightest expression to your 
thought as to the future, to go in person to Rome, and to lay 
before the Holy Father the whole case from your point of 
view; with its consequent bearing on yourself. 

'4. Lastly I add what has been always in my mind: 

'If you should find the national element in Ireland insuper- 
able, would it not be well to reconsider the site of the Uni- 
versity? All your arguments of centrality would apply to 
the west coast of England as much as to the east of Ireland. 
From the first I have rather acquiesced than assented to 
the present site, except as a balance to the Queen's Colleges. 
In the sense of your paper on Attica in the 2nd and 3rd 
University Gazette, England is even more central to the Anglo- 
Saxon than Ireland. 

'The difficulties of contributors would be overcome by 
the motives which would satisfy the Holy See. 

'This alternative would, I hope, be considered before that 
of your resignation.' 

A third source of constant difficulty which Newman 
notes was that, even apart from refusals to endorse his 
Professorial appointments, the Rector could get no answer at 
all from Dr. Cullen as to the arrangements which the 
starting of a new institution constantly called for. 2 

1 James Robert Hope, afterwards Hope-Scott. 

2 On this point lie consulted William Monsell; and to him too he spoke thus 
early of resignation as inevitable. Monsell, in his answer to Newman, treated 
Cullen's dilatoriness as simply a deficiency in knowledge of the laws of good 
manners. But Newman endorses his reply with a note expressing complete 

1 1 account/ he writes, c for Dr. Cullen's silence in another way. He had lived 
too long at Rome not to have known the received rules of courtesy as well as 
Monsell; but he had begun to treat me as one of his subjects, to whom no such 
observance of rules was due, I can't help thinking he learnt another rule from 


The above difficulties belong to the first few months of 
the existence of the University. The sense of a great lack 
of public interest in the scheme (the chief cause of its failure) 
deepened in the second year 1856. Hardly any members 
of the best Irish families came. 'We never have had Irish 
youths/ Newman writes to Mr. Pollen in 1857, 'except one 
or two. Barnewall, Errington, White, I suspect are all. The 
rest are burses, English, Scotch, foreigners.' And the repre- 
sentative English Catholics as a body would not take up the 
new University at all. Such English students as came were 
chiefly the children of converts, who had personal reasons for 
supporting Newman. This was discouraging, and promised 
little for the future. 

'I suppose one initial mistake/ Newman wrote to a 
friend, 'was the not associating the English Bishops in the 
work for they in consequence have shown us no interest at 
all. Another and greater has been not courting the laity. 
You recollect that, when I wanted to form a merely honorary 
list of lay members, Propaganda (I suppose at Dr. Cullen's 
suggestion) stopped it. The Irish Bishops can command 
the poorer portion of the community, and through it the 
funds necessary; but they have little or no influence with 
the classes which furnish the students. And there has been 
the hitch. And they don't seem to have felt this.' 

Further, Newman found among English Catholics hanker- 
ings after Oxford in view of the recent relaxation of University 
rules in their favour. And he felt that if English Catholics 
as a body went to Oxford all hope of a new Louvain at 
Dublin was at an end. For Louvain existed and flourished 
in virtue of the universal refusal of Belgian Catholics to 
frequent the State Universities. 

Whether or no the above-mentioned difficulties would 
have diminished in time, Newman's resignation was hastened 
on by another cause namely, the difference between himself 

Rome, viz., not to commit Mmself in writing. Thus one would think that 
at least the Archbishops could have corresponded with each other on certain 
questions which I wanted answered, but no, he must always wait "till the Arch- 
bishops met." Even then he would not have them answer my questions, but 
simply passed them over in silence. I was not to act, and for this purpose it was 
enough for them to be silent. Another thing he had learnt from Rome, was the 
wisdom of delay; he simply left questions to settle themselves. J. H. N, J 


and Dr. Cullen in their conception of what the University 
should be. 

One who knew Dr. Cullen intimately has supplied some 
particulars of his career which help us to understand this 
side of the situation. 

Dr. Cullen received his early theological training in the 
Rome of Leo XII. a Pope of liberal mind, a patron of letters, 
the friend and admirer of the bold innovator, Lamennais, in 
the days of the fame of the Essai sur rindifference. Cullen's 
actus publicus}m public disputation for the Doctor's degree 
was undertaken during Leo's pontificate. But all Cullen's 
enthusiasm was reserved for the Pope who, after the brief 
Pontificate of Pius VIII., succeeded namely, Gregory XVI. 
The Pontiff, a Benedictine, educated in all the discipline of 
monastic training, came to the Papal Throne in 1830 the 
year of the revolution, and at a time when the Carbonari and 
other secret societies menaced Italy. He was the friend of 
Metternich and the Austrian domination. Nationalism in 
Italy meant for him revolution. To invoke * liberty* was to 
play with edged tools. It was he who condemned Lamennais 
and the Avenir in the celebrated Encyclical Mirari vos. A 
policy of repression was adopted by him in the political and 
intellectual order alike. His attitude embodied that ideal of 
the Church as being in a state of siege which has so largely 
prevailed since the Reformation. Liberties must be cur- 
tailed, and a dictatorship established, to save the republic 
from its foes. Measures of reform were abhorrent to him as 
opening the door to a freedom which might issue in he knew 
not what. To vindicate the rights of the Church and the 
supremacy of the Curia in Rome, and of the clergy elsewhere, 
was congenial to him. The Holy See was strong enough 
still to be on occasion very peremptory in its dealings with 
the Powers of the world, and Cullen never wearied of 
describing the look of surprised abashment on the face of the 
Czar of Russia as he passed through an ante-camera in the 
Vatican after an audience of three-quarters of an hour, in 
which Pope Gregory took him to task for the ill-treatment of 
the Catholics Poles in his dominions. 

Cullen entered into the battle against c mixed education' 
con amore. But with him this roeant a policy of ultra- 


conservatism, and of ecclesiastical predominance in the new 
University. Let it be said at the outset that, apart from this 
University question, Cullen had a very considerable success 
in a work which had the sympathy of Newman himself* He 
largely destroyed the Galilean spirit in Ireland, and introduced 
among the clergy a new loyalty to the Holy See. His efforts 
at raising the disciplinary tone of the priesthood were signal 
and successful. His influence at Rome was so great that he 
practically nominated Bishop after Bishop the only excep- 
tions ultimately to those who were his approved candidates 
being Dr. McHale, Dr. Delany of Cork, and Dr. Moriarty of 
Kerry. If his fixed ideals did not correspond entirely to the 
world of fact, they expressed important principles which he 
urged with sometimes wearisome iteration. His pastorals 
harped again and again on the same notes the secret 
societies (Fenians, Freemasons, Carbonari, and Ribbonmen 
being all bracketed together), the lectures of Dr. Barlow of 
Trinity College in which eternal punishment was denied, and 
mixed education which if it sent Catholics to be taught by 
Dr. Barlow must be indeed dangerous to their faith. He 
infused, it may perhaps be said, a new zeal, and at the same 
time a measure of new intolerance and narrowness, into the 
Irish clergy. He refused to sit on the National School 
Board as Dr. Murray had done. He lost 500?. rather than 
nominate fresh teachers to the National Schools. Again, he 
associated far less with non-Catholics than his predecessors 
had done, and, except on a few State occasions, was not to be 
seen at dinner at Dublin Castle. He was a man of decided 
ability, strong purpose, and great piety. Few will deny that 
he was narrow. But he was kind to his clergy and was 
known as a true and apostolic priest. His appearance may 
be well pictured by those who have seen his statue at 
Marlborough Street Church. Though tall, the effect of his 
height was somewhat diminished by a slight stoop. 

Such was the man who had invoked Newman's aid in the 
struggle against 'mixed education/ But it became more and 
more plain that the two men thus united had different objects 
at heart. In Cullen's eyes* the scheme was predominantly 
ecclesiastical. And he desired the new institution to be 
entirely under his own control. The Professors, in his view, 


should be priests, owing him strict obedience. He wished to 
have zealous and pious priests; their intellectual equipment 
was a matter of secondary importance. The undergraduates 
were to be amenable to a quasi-seminarist discipline, and 
were thus to be preserved unspotted from modern thought- 
theological, literary, and political. Theology was to have 
the control of the sciences, as in days of old. In the Brief 
in which the Pope finally defined the main lines of the 
institution (a Brief which Newman supposed to be practically 
drawn up by Dr. Cullen) the new institution was called 
Lyceum and Gymnasium phrases pointing to a college or 
lay seminary rather than a University. 

Newman's conception materially differed from Dr. 
Cullen's, and on some points was directly opposed to it. 
He desired that the laity should have their full influence in 
the institution. He desired a University of the Louvain type, 
as he expressed it, in which scientific experts were chosen 
for the staff and given the freedom requisite for thorough 
efficiency. And he dreaded lest Dr. Cullen's type might 
prevail. c ln that case, 3 he writes to Mr. Ornsby, 'it will 
simply be priest-ridden. I mean men who do not know 
literature and science will have the direction of the teaching. 
... I cannot conceive the Professors taking part in this. 
They will be simply scrubs.' Again his idea was essentially 
that of a University with freedom and capacity of develop- 
ment, and not a mere college. The influence he desired for 
the laity was really part of this conception, as we see from a 
letter to Mr. Ornsby. 

'On both sides the Channel,' Newman wrote to Mr. 
Ornsby, ' the deep difficulty is the jealousy and fear which is 
entertained in high quarters of the laity. Dr. Cullen seems 
to think that "Young Irelandism" is the natural product of 
the lay mind everywhere, if let to grow freely; and I wish I 
could believe that he is singular in his view. Nothing great 
or living can be done except when men are self-governed 
and independent; this is quite consistent with a full main- 
tenance of ecclesiastical supremacy. St. Francis Xavier wrote 
to Father Ignatius on his knees; but who will say that 
St. Francis was not a real centre of action?' 

Religious influences, again, were essential; the presence 


of theology was essential; but Newman deprecated we 
shall in a subsequent chapter cite his own words any jealous 
ecclesiastical supervision of scientific investigations, or any 
narrowing of the conception of literature. Science and 
literature each had its own natural and independent sphere. 
Scientific investigation must be, he held, free from external 
interference. So, too, literature was to be the literature of 
the nations of the Greeks, the Romans, the English not of 
one religion. The institution was, moreover, to aim primarily 
not at religious training, but at imparting knowledge for its 
own sake.- It must be essentially a University and not a 
seminary. The University Brief believed to have been 
drawn up by Dr. Cullen held different language. Newman 
quotes its words in his Notes. The founders of the Univer- 
sity are exhorted in it Ho make "divina nostra religio tan- 
quam anima totius litterariae institutions " in the University; 
that is/ Newman adds, 'the form. "Omnes disciplinae"' 
Newman continues, 'are to go forward "in the most strict 
league with religion"; that is, with the assumption of Catholic 
doctrine in their intrinsic treatment; and the Professors are 
directly "to mould toils viribus the youth to piety and virtue, 
and to guard them in literature and science in conformity with 
the Church's teaching." I wrote on a different idea' (he adds), 
'my " Discourses on University Education" in 1852.' 

In opposing 'mixed education/ then, the two men had 
very different conceptions. Speaking broadly, Dr. Cullen 
seems to have aimed at the exclusion of all that was dan- 
gerous in modern thought; Newman rather at such mental 
and moral training as would enable Catholics to face dangers 
which were, in the long run, inevitable. 

'If then a University is a direct preparation for this 
world 7 (Newman had written in his lectures on the Scope 
and Nature of University Education), 'let it be what it 
professes. It is not a convent; it is not a seminary; it is a 
place to fit men of the world for the world. We cannot 
possibly keep them from plunging into the world with all its 
ways and principles and maxims, when their time comes; 
but we can prepare them against what is inevitable; and it 
is not the way to learn to swim in troubled waters never to 
have gone into them. Proscribe, I do not merely say par- 
ticular authors, particular passages, but Secular Literature as 


such; cut out from your class books all broad manifestations 
of the natural man; and these manifestations are waiting 
for your pupil's benefit at the very doors of your lecture-room 
in living and breathing substance. . . . You have refused him 
the masters of human thought, who would in some sense have 
educated him, because of their incidental corruption; you 
have shut up from him those whose thoughts strike home to 
our hearts; whose words are proverbs, whose names are 
indigenous to all the world, who are the standards of the 
mother tongue, and the pride and boast of their countrymen, 
Homer, Ariosto, Cervantes, Shakespeare, because the old 
Adam smelt rank in them; and for what have you reserved 
him? You have given him a liberty unto the multitudinous 
blasphemy of the day; you have made him free of its news- 
papers, its reviews, its magazines, its novels, its controversial 
pamphlets, of its Parliamentary debates, its law proceedings, 
its platform speeches, its songs, its drama, its theatre, of 
its enveloping, stifling atmosphere of death. You have suc- 
ceeded but in this in making the world his University.' l 

The Archbishop then gradually realised a very unwelcome 
prospect. In place of a new centre for enforcing ecclesiastical 
rule in Ireland, he saw the possibility of something like a 
Catholic intellectual republic. His ideal of a staff of Irish 
priest-professors was opposed by Newman's desire that a 
large proportion of the professors should be Englishmen 
and not in Orders. And as to those Irishmen who were to 
be chosen, he found that laymen were preferred to priests, 
and, worse than all, that the Nationalists, as including the 
most able men, were regarded with special favour. The 
quasi-seminary life he had planned for the students in his 
' gymnasium' was to be set aside for the free habits of Oxford 
undergraduates. It was proposed to license a theatre 
especially for their recreation. Instead of finding his own 
supreme -authority an acknowledged fact, he learnt early in 
the day that Newman desired to have for Chancellor an 
English prelate Cardinal Wiseman. 

Probably from the time of the lectures of 1852, which 
were well received by the Queen's College party, Dr. Cullen 
to some extent dreaded his rashly invoked ally. He had 
hoped/ writes the late Bishop Patterson in a letter to myself , 

, , l Idea of a University, p. 233. 


'that he had found a splendid horse to do his work against the 
Queen's Colleges, but now he began to regard it as a Pegasus 
with wings and beyond his control. He saw fire coming from 
its nostrils, and while its feet nervously pawed the ground, 
Cullen stood by in dread of some new and unexpected flight 
into a medium beyond his reach or understanding.' Newman 
on his side felt that he was not trusted, and was irritated. 

'Dr. Cullen wishes well to the University/ Newman wrote 
to Mr. Ornsby, 'but while he is as ignorant as anybody how 
to do good he has not the heart to have perfect confidence in 
anyone; as if I should determine to be Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, but be quite unwilling to take hints from Glad- 
stone or Disraeli as to my measures. Dr. Leahy will trust 
a man; Dr. Cullen will not. Here is the origo mali; an 
Archbishop without trust in anyone. I wonder he does not 
cook his own dinners. 7 

Newman in April 1856 definitely announced to the 
Archbishop that he meant to resign in the following July 
year. 'Though at first he was startled or rather surprised/ 
Newman writes to St. John, 'he quite acquiesced and I 
consider I have gained a great step.' Newman was indeed 
at this moment harassed by fears which proved unfounded. 
In addition to his difficulties with Dr. Cullen, there was the 
fact that the ratification of the Rector's proceedings by the 
other Bishops was necessary. This could not take place 
until they met. And Dr. Cullen had kept delaying the meet- 
ing. Newman ascribed this delay to a fear of Dr. McHale, 
who was known to be no friend to the University. He 
wrote as follows to St. John: 

*6, Harcourt Street, April i8th, 1856. 

'I suppose the division here in the Episcopate and in the 
clergy is greater than ever it was; and I think Archbishop 
Cullen does not call the Bishops together as anticipating that 
they would confirm nothing that I have done. Dr. McHale 
has made a point, whenever he has had an opportunity, of pro- 
testing against every one of my acts, and I know that Dr. 
Cullen has said to a man who was going to accept an appoint- 
ment from me: "How do you know it will be confirmed? 3 ' 

'Poor Dr. Cullen! I should not wonder if (he) is quite 
mastered by anxiety. The great fault I find with him is that 
he makes no one his friend, because he will confide in nobody, 


and will be considerate to nobody. Everyone feels that he is 
emphatically close, and while this conduct repels would-be 
friends, it fills enemies with vague suspicions of horrible 
conspiracies on his part against Bishops, Priests, and the 
rights of St. Patrick. And he is as vehement against the 
young Irelanders, as against the McHalites, and against 
the McHalites as against the English/ 

And at last the Bishops did meet, and Newman's fears of 
fresh difficulties from Dr. McHale the Lion of the West 
as he was called were not realised. Newman attended 
the meeting armed for the fray, and prepared to hold 
his own against the redoubtable John of Tuam. But he 
received nothing but courtesy and kindness. 


'Harcourt Street: June 26th, 1856, half past four. 
'I have just come from the Synodal Meeting. I was up 
before the Bishops over an hour. I was perfectly cool; so 
much so that I longed to be attacked. Others too said 
definitely of the Archbishop of Tuam what Dr. Cullen, in 
the letter I sent you this morning, said vaguely of "some 
Bishops." However, he kept a dead silence. Dr. Deny, his 
friend, asked some questions, but in the most courteous, 
pleasantest manner. I wished the Lion to attack me, but 
you see I am not destined to be a Gerard.' 

'I am told,' he adds in. his next letter, 'that the lion 
generally turns tail when met and looked in the face.' 

But indeed Dr. McHale evidently had no idea of being 
otherwise than personally courteous. He met Newman 
accidentally at Maynooth. 'When I kissed his ring,' writes 
Newman, 'he shook hands with such vehement cordiality as 
to punish my nose.' 

The third year of Newman's residence began in November 
1856, and two letters to Henry Wilberforce (who was now 
editor of the Weekly Register) give his feelings at that time 
and an incidental picture of his busy life in Dublin: 

'The Oratory, Birmingham: October 21/56. 

c Thank you for your affectionate notice of me in your 
last Register. ... 

'Well, my work I trust is getting to an end ... for my 
third and last year of residence is beginning, which will make 


my sixth of active exertion. Six years is a long time in any 
mail's life and a serious portion of a man's who is between 50 
and 60. I cannot conceive that I shall be formally told to go on 
and to any thing but a formal order I shall be insensible. . . . 

' If I am driven into a corner, from the urgency of those who 
wish me to stay, I shall insist on quasi non-residence but, to 
tell the truth, I am far from certain there are not a good many 
persons who wish me gone. Indeed who would feel any great 
concern at my going, among persons in authority, except the 
good Primate, Dr. Dixon, and Dr. Moriarty? Dr. Leahy, the 
Bishop, would be sorry too but who else? ... I am speak- 
ing of Superiors, not of those under me, or the Professors. 

'How long is it since I saw you? You are now one of my 
very oldest friends, for those who were before you have for the 
most part disappeared. I have two or three, or fewer, school 
friends. One of them, Westmacott, lost his father lately, and 
I wrote to him, and had back a very affectionate answer, poor 
fellow. Then there is old Ogle at Oxford, who declined to see 
me, not so long ago and old Tom Short and Wilson of Trinity. 
Hawkins too and Whately and the rest, who dcta't seem very 
cordial do they? So I am obliged to put up with such as you/ 

( 6, Harcourt Street, Dublin: Nov. nth, 1856. 

'Carissime, Gladly would I assist you in the way you 
speak of, were it not all one with careering to the moon. 
Alas! You do not realize my work. My chattels stand 
about my room the same confusion as on the night I came, 
near three weeks ago, from my inability to find leisure for 
removing them to their places. My letters are a daily bur- 
den, and did I not answer them by return of post, tHey would 
soon get my head under water and drown me. Every hour 
or half-hour of the day I have people calling on me. I have 
to entertain strangers at dinner, I have to attend inaugural 
Lectures four last week. I have to stop Professors resign- 
ing, and Houses revolting. I have to keep accounts and 
find money, when I have none. Besides the book I have 
just published at Longman's, I have three reprinting which 
I am reading thro' and correcting, and I have to provide 
four Sermons in print by St. Paul's day, that for Sunday 
week not having the first word written yet. I have to lec- 
ture on Latin Composition, and examine for Exhibitions. 
In 10 days I rush to Birmingham for their sheer want of me. 
I then have to throw myself into quite a fresh world. And 
I have the continual pain of our Fathers sighing if I am 


not there, and priests and Professors looking black if I am 
not here. I grieve to say, I am not up to doing anything for 
you now, tho' I should wish it. J. H. N. 3 - 

Newman's old Oxford friends, as Mr. Capes and Henry 
Wilberforce, still cherished the idea of a Louvain University 
for England under Newman's direction, and trusted that, even 
if he resigned, his mantle would fall on another Englishman, 
and their hopes would yet be realised. Newman wrote to 
Mr. Capes on February i, 1857, pointing out the apathy of the 
English and suggesting ways in which, even short of at once 
frequenting the University, they could help it. The letter ends 
with expressions of hopefulness as to the future of the Uni- 
versity which he used to all except his most intimate friends. 
They have a vehemence which contrasts most curiously with 
the hopelessness of the situation as he viewed it looking back 
later on. But indeed the letter expresses a detachment and in- 
difference which point to his not owning to himself at the time 
the disappointment of which he afterwards wrote so bitterly. 

C I know myself/ he wrote, 'if no one else knows, what 
little interest I take in the success or failure of schemes in 
which I am engaged. If I needed it, the failure of Puseyism 
and the advance of years have been sufficient to secure me 
against over-earnestness in working, and the zest of business. 
I am working very hard, but I take as little (natural or 
human) interest in it as I do in the Cotton plantations of 
India. I have never doubted a moment of our success. 
I am quite satisfied with our progress. To look ba'ck 2 years 
and see the substantial improvement of things is wonderful, 
and should make us very thankful. My own house has been 
blessed from the first in a most stupendous way, and never 
had I a greater proof of God's mercy. Everything I have 
done has succeeded the notion of disappointment, the very 
shade of despondency does not come on me. My strength 
and my congregation will not let me go on. I am getting 
old, but I have had no troubles so that, in complaining of 
the country gentlemen both of England and of Ireland, I do 
it, as I might criticise a piece of" Latin composition. Still, 
I do complain, and I say that you cannot have a University 
till the gentlemen take it up} 

To Manning he had written two weeks earlier, speaking 
of his resignation as imminent and inevitable: 


'Ben Harrison years ago rightly applied to me my own 
line about St. Gregory Nazianzen, "Thou couldst a people 
raise, but couldst not rule." I have done my work here. 
I have got together a number of very clever men; and they 
pull well together but of course they want a strong hand 
over them; they want an Irishman too; and to deal with 
the hierarchy a Bishop is wanted. Dr. Moriarty is the 
man he is a calm, prudent, firm man has had much 
to do with governing and is a friend of all parties. . . . 
Were 'Dr. Moriarty Rector, of course I would aid him, if he 
wished it, as much as ever I could. 

' Another plan I have heard, was, for me to be non-resi- 
dent like an Oxford Chancellor, and the Vice-Rector to 
be the acting man. I don't think the Irish would bear 

Newman definitely resigned in March 1857, naming 
November 14 as the date on <which his resignation was 
to take effect. In the event he continued for another 
year as non-resident Rector, on conditions to be shortly 
stated. Difficulties had arisen in the Edgbaston Oratory 
owing to the continued absence of the Father Superior, and 
his resignation was made quite final by a letter of recall from 
the community, in the sending of which Newman in the 
circumstances acquiesced. 1 His letters of resignation to the 

1 The following is the text of the letter and of Newman's reply: 

'May sth, 1857. 

'My dear Father Superior, Our Fathers have requested me to forward to 
you a Decree passed by them in General Congregation. It is as follows: 

f "C. G. May 5, 1857. Whereas by Decree of May 6th, 1852, we gave per- 
mission to our Father Superior to accept the office of President of the Catholic 
University, and whereas the time has long since expired which we contemplated 
for his absence when we gave him that permission, and whereas we find we cannot 
continue longer the great inconvenience arising from his protracted separation 
from us. We hereby unanimously determine, in General Congregation assem- 
bled, that his leave of absence shall end, and that, in virtue of obedience to St. 
Philip, he must return to us." 

'Ever, dear Father Superior, &c., &c., 


; Dean of the Oratory.' 


'May 6th, 1857. 

'My dear Father Dean, I have just received your letter, containing the 
Decree of General Congregation withdrawing my leave of absence from 

'I need hardly say I feel bound to obey it. However, I do not interpret it 
to mean that I must return at this very moment without delay. I assure you I 


Bishops have a curious interest from the careful graduation 
of their expression. The Bishops are addressed in a de- 
scending scale of cordiality according to their past conduct 
towards himself, beginning with Dr. Dixon, Archbishop of 
Armagh, with whom his relations had been most friendly 
and to whom his expressions of gratitude are emphatic, 
and ending with Archbishop McHale, his avowed enemy, to 
whom he makes a brief and bare announcement of the fact. 

The letters to the Bishops were private, but the secret 
leaked out. Dr. Taylor, Newman's first University Secretary 
and warm friend, wrote expressing his anxiety at the rumour 
which had reached him that the termination of his Rector- 
ship was at hand, and asked for its confirmation or denial. 
Newman's reply was as follows: 

'April 1857. 

' Thank you for your very kind letter. It is quite true, in 
answer to your question, that I cannot long remain here, but 
it is Irom no "disgust" on my part, as you suppose, but from 
the prospect of old age and the many claims which are made 
at present on my time and strength. I came here only for 
a season. My Congregation at Birmingham only spared me 
for a season. You recollect how eager I was to get to work. 
This was because I saw precious time going which was 
irrevocable. When this Session ends I shall have given 
six years to the University. At my time of life six years is 
as long as twelve years of a younger man. For six years 
shall I have given up my confessional and the other 
duties of an Oratorian. For six years all my other work, 
all my reading, has been suspended. The first three years 
were wasted, indeed, as far as active proceedings here 
went, but they were not, therefore, the less lost to my 

'I have ever said that I could be here but for a time. In 
1852, in my University Discourses, I said: "Neither you nor 
I must ever be surprised if the Hand of Him with Whom are 
the springs of life and death, weighs heavy on me." 

will do so at once, if such is the wish of the Congregation; but it may only mean 
to fix a limit to my absence. 

'It runs thus: "We hereby unanimously determine, &c." I wish to ask of 
you, as interpreting the intentions of the Congregation, whether I am to return 
at once: or. if not, within what time. 



'In the Catholic Gazette in 1854 I said I only " aspired 
to the preliminary task of breaking the ground and clearing 
the foundations of the future." 

'In my report to the Bishops in 1855 I spoke of "the time 
being so limited, which at my age, and with my engagements 
elsewhere, I can hope to be allowed to employ" in their 
Lordships' service. 

'It is near a year since I mentioned the term of my stay 
distinctly to Dr. Cullen. 

'I could not do more than all this; to have stated pub- 
licly my intentions of going would have tended to defeat 
the good of my being -here at all. ... 

'I have set it off. This is all I propose to do. I cannot 
longer carry on both my Dublin work, and my Birmingham 
work. I cannot bear the fatigue of going to and fro between 
England and Ireland, and the University has had out of me 
pretty nearly all it can squeeze/ 

Many of the Bishops expressed to Newman the deepest 
regret at his impending resignation. Newman himself was 
still attached to the scheme and had made valued friends 
among his colleagues. In the course of the correspondence 
and interviews which ensued, he came to the conclusion that 
if the Archbishops would dispense with his residence in 
Dublin, and would let him appoint a Vice-Rector whom he 
could trust as his delegate, and be content with his visiting 
Dublin only occasionally, he might, for a time, prolong his 
tenure of the Rectorship. The date of his recall by the 
Birmingham Oratory was May 5. On the isth he had 
interviews with both Dr. Cullen and Dr. Leahy, and made it 
clear on the latter occasion that a compromise was possible. 
His chief insistence was on freedom to appoint a dele- 
gate Rector layman or priest as he should prefer. Both 
interviews are described in letters to Ambrose St. John: 

'May 12th, 1857: half past 2 p.m. 

'The poor Archbishop (Cullen) is just gone. I say "poor" 
because he was evidently so nervous and distressed as to 
melt me internally, though I was very stiff, or 'very much 
moved, both at once perhaps, during the short interview. 

'First he begged me to stop, for everyone said I must 
for three years more so as to make six from the opening 
of the University. 


( I reminded him how I had urged him to, start sooner, 
for I had lost my first years in waiting. Also, that I had told 
him a year ago what was to be. 

'Next he said Propaganda would give me a dispensation, 
he was sure, of non-residence (at Birmingham). 

'I said I was sure that the whole Oratory would go off to 
Rome to present in person an expostulation rather than let 
such dispensation pass sub silentio* 

'Then he said some arrangement perhaps might be made, 
by which I should be for a longer time at Birmingham, and 
a Vice-Rector might reside continuously in Dublin. 

'I said I was sure the Fathers, as I myself, would do 
everything possible to serve an undertaking which they 
expected so much from. 

'Lastly, he said that perhaps some of the Bishops, perhaps 
an Archbishop, might write to the Birmingham Congregation. 
I said that I knew well how grateful the Birmingham 
Fathers would be for such condescension; for myself I felt ex- 
treme gratitude to the Bishops, some of whom had sent me most 
touching letters in answer to my announcement of resigning. 

'All this took place with pauses of silence on his part and 
mine; and, when I spoke, I spoke with great momentum. 
I say all this to bring the scene before you. 

'Then he rose, and I rang the bell; and there must have 
been something unusual in our faces, for, when Frederic 
answered it, he (F.) looked frightened. 

'He then said that he had spoken to some Bishops about 
my Church delay had been unavoidable but he thought 
they would buy it for the University and they would settle it 
when they met a few weeks later. 

'I think your answer should be most courteous, warm and 
grateful. Apologetic on the ground of the real need of a 
Superior at Birmingham, expressive of your desire to do 
all you could do, saying that you answered without delay 
out of respect to them, and that you wished to be allowed 
maturely to consider this proposition.' 

'Dr. Leahy has just called/ Newman writes to St. John 
on the same day as above. 'He began on the Rectorship 
at once. He was kind and appreciative and earnest, as much 
as my warmest friends could desire; said that I could not 
understand the full confidence the Bishops had in me; that 
I was the man, he verily believed, intended by Providence, 
before I was a Catholic, for the work that I should destroy 


it if I went, that he would not could not believe 1 
was to go, &c. &c. 

'I showed him the Congregation's Decree of May 5m 3 
which was a simple quietus to him, as it has been to everyone 
to whom I have shown it. 

'He said that he hoped I would persuade the Congrega- 
tion to spare me, at least a year or two longer. 

'I said I could not in conscience; that no words could 
do justice to the intensity with which I felt the evil of my 
absence; that we had all borne it very long; that no one 
could tell how long my life was to be; that I could not 
leave the world with a good conscience if I had not given my 
last years to St. Philip. On the other hand, that the setting up 
of a University was the work of years, the work of a life; that 
I could only be here at most a year or two more or less; that 
the bishops should get a man twenty years younger, &c. &c.' 

Newman made it clear to Dr. Leahy that the only hope of 
his continuance in office was that the Archbishops should 
consent to his residence being only occasional. But mean- 
while he urged strongly what had been in his mind for a 
year past, that Dr. Moriarty, Bishop of Kerry, was the man 
above all others suited to the post of Rector. 

'That collisions are ahead, perhaps between Clergy and 
Laity, I do not deny/ he wrote to a friend. 'The breach 
between them in Ireland is fearful the University may bring 
it out.' In such collisions he, an Englishman, felt that he 
should be powerless from want of knowledge. Dr. Morlarty, 
on the other hand, had both the knowledge and the tact 
required. He had in the previous November written strongly 
to Dr. Moriarty himself. 

'You alone/ he wrote, 'can amalgamate the various 
elements of the University; you alone can effect the due 
subordination of those elements to the Bishops. For myself, 
even were I Bishop and Irishman, I have not the talent of 
ruling; I never had; I never have ruled; and never have 
been in a position of authority before. I can begin things, 
and I never aspired to do more.' 

However, the question of a successor to Newman was, in 
the event, postponed. 

Dr. Leahy was about this time appointed to the Arch- 
bishopric of Cashel; and his intimacy with Newnaan helped 


to a better understanding between the representatives of the 
hierarchy and the Rector. Ultimately, on August 25, the 
Archbishops wrote to the Oratory consenting at all events as 
an experiment for the ensuing year to the compromise which 
Newman had suggested. Newman's residence at Dublin was 
to be only intermittent. 1 

Yet the plan of a Rector who should live at a distance 
proved unmanageable, and he soon regretted the compromise. 

C I am in a sad state of despondency/ he writes to Mr. 
Ornsby on December 21. C 0n the spot I know what you 
all think, and can form my judgment and act by the popular 
feeling, which is indispensable in the case of a person in my 
place. But here at a distance I am walking in the dark, and 
may any moment be doing a dis-service or committing an 
offence when I mean just the reverse. 

'I assure you I dread most extremely misunderstandings 
arising between the Professors, &c., and me, from no one's 

1 Newman, in accepting the Bishops' proposal, adds his own definite con- 
ditions, which include the following: that he may appoint his own Vice-Rector 
to represent him in his absence; that there shall be henceforth a yearly finance 
audit and a meeting of the Bishops at Dublin each term. These conditions being 
accepted, he consents to reside nine weeks in the year. 

Dr. Leahy replied, conveying the assent of the Archbishops to various argu- 
ments submitted by the Rector, but Newman thus endorses his letter: 

'It will be observed that a dead silence is kept about my cardinal demands, 
as stated in my letter to Dr. Leahy Oct. i6th 1857 of a Vice-Rector who 
would really represent me, and especially of a finance audit yearly and a terminal 
Episcopal Dublin Meeting. J. H. N/ 

However, in spite of this provoking absence of explicit assurances Newman 
continued for another year to be Rector in name (though without a salary), while 
he resided at the Oratory, and he was allowed to appoint, for the time, a Pro- 

The text of Dr. Leahy's letter runs as follows: 

' October 24th, 1857. 

'The Archbishops met in Dublin. Dr. McHale was not present. 

*i. The Lodging House for Medical Students, with Dr. Tyrrell for the 
Head, was approved of. ... 

' 2. The Archbishops also approved of setting up the School of Theology. 

'3. The Archbishops also approved of Mr. Arnold and Mr. McCarthy as 
Professors respectively of English Literature and Architecture. 

'4. The appointment of a Vice-Rector is, under present circumstances, of so 
much importance that they have thought it better to take time in considering 
it, and have deferred it till after Christmas, leaving it to you meanwhile to 
name a Pro- Vice-Rector. 

'They desired me to request you will name none but a priest. 

'5. Your proposed expenditure of 6, OOP/, per annum . . . they wish to defer.' 


fault y but merely from the necessary collisions which take 
place when men are acting on each other three hundred 
miles off. I say to myself: "How much better to resign 
now while people like me, than to outlive my popularity and 
leave unpleasant associations behind me! >?? 

In point of fact, the scheme of a non-resident Rector did 
not really satisfy Dr. Cullen, and Newman's tenure of office 
was practically at an end at the time we have reached. 
The occasion of his final resignation eleven months later 
will be duly chronicled later on. But he ceased to rule 
the University actively after he left Ireland in the autumn 
of 185 7. 1 And this is, therefore, the suitable place for in- 
serting the interesting account he has left in the Retrospective 
Notes of his differences with Dr. Cullen and the real causes 
of his ultimate retirement, as distinct from the events which 
immediately led to it: 

'I will briefly state what were the main points on which 
Dr. Cullen complains of me, and I of Dr. Cullen: 

'First, from the first he quarrelled with my partial resi- 
dence at Dublin. He thought that, with the exception of 
a fair annual holiday, I ought to be at my post all through 
the year. He did not recognize I had duties elsewhere. He 
thought I ought to give them up. So ingrained was this 
idea in his mind that, when our Congregation, in refusing to 
continue my leave of absence, pointedly limited their refusal 
to an absence such as had been "for the last three years," 
opening the door to negotiation for a residence not so strict 
as mine had been, he did not avail himself of it; and when 
I directly called, through Dr. Leahy, his attention to this 
middle way, proposing a residence for some weeks during 
each term, he said it might be tried as an experiment for 
one year. And, when nothing in consequence came of this 
proposal and I remained on without taking any salary till 
a successor was appointed, suddenly he, and Dr. Leahy with 
Mm, abruptly called me into residence, which was the imme- 
diate cause of my resignation. I do not say he was not 
right in wishing for a Rector who had no duties elsewhere; 
but, if that was his judgment, he ought not to have asked 
me to be Rector. But I think he fancied that the superior 
attractions of the Rectorship would lead to my separating 

1 In the Appendix (p. 628) will be found further correspondence connected 
with his Rectorship of the University. 


from the Oratory, and, if not, to my bringing over the whole 
Oratory to Dublin, I think this difficulty was a continual 
fret to him, and accounted, to his judgment, for whatever 
went amiss in the University. But what I think was the real 
serious cause of distance, jealousy, distrust, and disapproval, 
as regards me and my doings, was the desire I had to make 
the laity a substantive power in the University. Here I was 
reprehensible in two respects. 

' First, I wished the 'gentry whose sons were to be taught 
by us to have the financial matters of the institution in 
their hands. The trustees of the property must, I know, 
be ecclesiastics; but what I felt about was the expenditure. 
And in two ways: (i) I thought that they had a right to 
the management of the current accounts, because else those 
accounts would not be kept in order at all; (2) there would 
be no auditing and no knowledge of what was spent; it would 
be, as I supposed it in my first report, like putting one's 
hands into a bag. All the time I was there I in vain 
repeatedly assailed Dr. Cullen on the necessity of a Finance 
Committee, and this was a great source of suspicion, of 
irritation to him. It made me indignant to find how little 
there seemed to be of responsibility in the expenditure. I 
did not choose to act in this way. It was laying me, a for- 
eigner, open to imputations. Years afterwards the question 
might arise, how had I spent the money. . . . 

C I believed laymen would put an end to this, and, there- 
fore, I wished the account to be in lay hands. Moreover, I 
thought that such an arrangement would conciliate the laity 
and would interest them in the University more than any- 
thing else. They were treated like good little boys; were 
told to shut their eyes and open their mouths and take what 
we gave them and this they did not relish. 

'But a cause of offence to Dr. Cullen, far greater than my 
desire of a lay Finance Committee, was my countenance of 
those whom he considered Young Irelanders, and generally of 
nationalists ; and to these he added a very different party, the 
friends of Lucas, 1 up to the Archbishop of Tuam. I never, 
of course, would give up Lucas as a friend. I differed from 
him, but I thought him an honest good man. Dr. Cullen's 
treatment of him at Rome is too painful for me to talk of. As 
soon as the Archbishop thought I was on what may be called 
"speaking terms' 7 with him, he grew cold towards me. He 
warned me against him, and I, of course, would not be warned. 
1 Frederick Lucas, the well-known editor of the Tablet. 


'But again, there was a knot of men who in 1848 had 
been quasi rebels; they were clever men and had cooled 
down, most of them. I did not care much for their political 
opinions. Dr. Moriarty introduced them to me, and I made 
them Professors. They are the ablest men who have 
belonged to the University; such are Professor ; Curry 
and Professor Sullivan. I can never be sorry for asking 
their assistance; not to take them would have been prepos- 
terous. There you had good men ? Irishmen; did not Dr. 
Cullen wish Irish? Had he not warned me against English 
and Scotch? If I did not take men made ready to my hand, 
desirable on their own account, desirable because their fel- 
lows were not to be found, I must put up, if not with English 
and Scotch, with incapable priests; is this what Dr. Cullen 

'He, however, seems to have been in a great alarm what 
was coming next. I saw a great deal of Mr. Pigot, now 
deadthe Chief Baron's son; he talked like a republican, 
but he was full of views and a clever man, I had a thought 
of giving him a law Professorship, or I did. Dr. Cullen 
brought down with him to me an excellent man, the Arch- 
bishop of Halifax, Dr. Walsh, to dissuade me by telling me 
things against Mr. Pigot. I have forgotten every word 
he said. It made no impression on me. I daresay he had 
said and done a number of wild things; he was a fanatic 
even then; but I did not see that, therefore, I should separate 
myself from him. But Dr. Cullen always compared Young 
Ireland to Young Italy, and with the most intense expression 
of words and countenance assured me they never came right 
never he knew them from his experience of Rome. 

'I cannot pursue these things at this distance of time; 
but the consequence was that Dr. Cullen became alienated 
from me, and from an early date either did not write to me, 
or, if ever he did, wrote by a secretary, 

'So much on his side of the question. Now as to what 
I would say in objection to him. 

'In truth I have already suggested what I have to say; 
but I must say for myself that my reasons for separating 
myself from the University were far broader than any of a 
personal nature. 

'Of course I was very much offended with Dr. Cullen. 
I could not act because I could not get him to say "yes" 
or "no" to questions which I asked him; and if I acted with- 
out asking, then I displeased him. 


'I begged him to substitute persons for himself to whom 
I might go if it was inconvenient to him to converse or to 
correspond with me. It was one of those conditions I made 
as preliminary to my continuing in the Rectorship but I 
got no answer beyond that of an incomprehensible silence. 
I could not go on in such a state of things, and, therefore, I 
confess that my relations towards Dr. Cullen had much to 
do with my leaving. 

'But there were those more direct and serious difficulties 
in my remaining which our Fathers put forth in their letter 
in answer to the three Archbishops. ... It was an unfor- 
tunate coincidence of untoward events, but so it was, that 
my residence here (at Birmingham) was absolutely necessary 
to the welfare of this Oratory, and this is the very thing, as 
I have said, which Dr. Cullen would not grant. 

'This then was the main cause of my leaving, that I 
could not give to the University that continuous presence 
which Dr. Culleh wished. His own conduct was a sub- 
ordinate reason. There was a third still, though it was 
not of primary influence; still it had a, force in reconciling 
me to my step. It was the fact, which had by this time 
become so plain, viz., that English Catholics felt no interest 
at all in the University scheme, and had no intention to 
make use of it, should it get into shape. I had gone to Ire- 
land on the express understanding that it was an English 
as well as an Irish University, and the Irish had done all 
in their power to make it an Irish University, and noth- 
ing else. And further, I say, the English Catholics had given 
it up. It had begun a very little time when Dr. Ullathorne 
told me, as if a matter in which he acquiesced, that "the 
English gentlemen would never send their sons to it." 

'Now it happened at the end of the year^ 1857, that 
Dr. Cullen expressed regret that the Professors did not make 
greater use of the newspaper press in bringing the University 
before the public, and urged Mr. Ornsby and others to turn 
their thoughts to the subject. They were willing, and the 
only question was how to do it. It occurred to me that 
it would be well to begin some controversy about the Uni- 
versity, so, telling no one but Mr. H. Wilberforce, the edi- 
tor, I inserted in the Weekly Register a very bitter letter 
signed "Q in the corner." Ornsby replied, and I wrote as 
many as four short letters; but to my disgust I found I was 
beating him. But what it brought out clearly was the 
English sentiment. Not a word came in advocacy of the 


University from any English College or centre, and "QV 
letters were, without disavowal of the sentiments which they 
contained, attributed generally to this or that English priest. 
I tried to make it up to the University by writing leading 
articles for four weeks in its defence; but what came home 
to me clearly was that I was spending my life in the service 
of those who had not the claim upon me which my own 
countrymen had; that, in the decline of life, I was throwing 
myself out of that sphere of action and those connections 
which I had been forming for myself so many years. All 
work is good 7 but what special claim had a University, exclu- 
sively Irish, upon my time?' 

It has been necessary to give minutely JsTewman's own 
account of the incompatibility of his views with those of 
Dr. Cullen, as very inaccurate accounts have become current. 
Let it, then, not be forgotten that, apart from the soreness 
which was quite inevitable when Newman felt that by his 
action and his inaction Dr. Cullen made the success of the 
University impossible, a real regard existed between the two 
men, and a mutual appreciation of the high qualities of each. 
<I ever had the greatest, the truest reverence for the good 
Cardinal Cullen,' Newman wrote in 1879. * I use( i to sa Y ^^ 
his countenance had a light upon it which made me feel as if, 
during his many years at Rome, all the saints of the Holy 
City had been looking into it and he into theirs.' 

In the foregoing narrative I have given Newman's own 
account of his ' Irish Campaign/ as he called it, placing the 
facts in the light in which he saw them. Thus only can 
their effect on his own mind and history be appreciated. 
But enough is apparent, even in the record he has himself 
left, to show that there was another side to much that 
happened besides that to which he was himself alive. It is 
clear that while Dr." Cullen, eager to secure his services, had 
agreed in general terms that the University should be for all 
English-speaking Catholics, and not merely an Irish institu- 
tion, this undertaking was not, even by Cullen himself, taken 
to mean all that Newman supposed. Dr. Cullen's jealousy 
at the outset of English appointments to professorships 
makes this clear. And it may be doubted whether the Irish 
Episcopate in general had any knowledge that such an 


undertaking had been given. If they had not, a good 
many events bear a different colour from what they took 
in Newman's own eyes. Father Neville records as one 
of Newman's grievances that he wanted Cardinal Wiseman 
to be Chancellor, and failed to obtain his appointment. 
Newman himself states in a letter to Ambrose St. John, 
that he asked Cardinal Wiseman to preach at the opening 
of the University Church in 1856, and that Wiseman 
doubted whether the Irish Archbishops would desire it. 
In the end, Dr. Cullen objected to the proposal. Obviously 
Cardinal Wiseman's natural position in the Catholic Uni- 
versity of the British Isles was one thing in the Catholic 
University of Ireland quite another. 

We may well hazard the conjecture^ that the episode of 
the proposed bishopric for the new Rector was due to the 
same difference as to the relations of the University to 
Ireland. The appointment was obtained from the Pope by 
the EngHsh Primate, Cardinal Wiseman, although it is true 
that he asked Dr. Cullen's acquiescence on the occasion of a 
brief meeting at Amiens. It is probable enough that while 
Cullen did not like to say No there and then, he found on 
subsequently consulting his colleagues that they considered 
that such a request should have been made to the Holy 
Father by none but themselves, and that this view was at 
once intimated to Rome. Cardinal Wiseman's somewhat 
impulsive energy had probably gained his point at Rome 
before these representations came from Ireland, and the 
Cardinal had at once written to Newman the news of his 
success. Representations from the Irish Episcopate that 
the request had been made without their acquiescence, 
and that the appointment was not judged by them to be 
expedient, would have great force at Rome. In their light 
Wiseman's previous action would appear to have been 
irregular almost unconstitutional. Wiseman's announce- 
ment to Newman that the dignity was obtained had 
been unofficial, and, accordingly, the matter was allowed 
by Rome to drop. Rome was not (at all events officially) 
cognisant of the communication of Wiseman to Newman on 
the subject, nor of the earlier words of Dr. Cullen to Newman 
which obviously referred to the bishopric as a settled thing. 
VOL. i. o 


Both these communications were, of course, vividly present 
to Newman's own mind, and made him feel his treatment to 
h av e been in the highest degree discourteous. Had his 
friends reported the facts fully in Rome, it is very improbable 
that the proposed honour would have been any longer 
withheld indeed, when Manning spoke of the subject to 
the Roman authorities in 1860, it was made clear to him 
that Newman could have the bishopric if he wished for it. 
But Newman's temperament made it impossible for him to 
move a finger in the matter, and in a busy world no urgent 
action was taken by others when the person most closely 
concerned made no sign. 

However, while in this and in other matters much may 
be said to explain the incidents which tried Newman so 
acutely, the outstanding fact, so far as his own history is 
concerned, is that these years from 1853 to 1858 did much 
to break his spirit. His temperament was not at any time 
one that could 'rough it 3 easily. And he had reached an 
age when most men of great powers are not struggling 
against odds and amid rebuffs to construct new social 
mechanism, but rather have won an assured position in 
some already constituted institution or career. The hardest 
struggles are over for most men at fifty. A groove of some 
kind is attained to. The ordinary course was reversed for 
Newman. He had not had to rough it in boyhood. He had 
never had the discipline of a public school. Brilliant success, 
and a leadership in its kind unparalleled, had come for him 
at Oxford when he was only thirty-seven years old. He had 
to begin a new life among strangers at forty-five, as no longer a 
young man. The 'blessed vision of peace' had given a glow 
to the first years of his Catholic career, in spite of its trials. 
His deep sense that he was an instrument in the hands of 
Providence that if he were patient the 'kindly light' would 
show the path which God marked out for him; his expectation 
that, in spite of obvious difficulties, in God's own way, some- 
thing equivalent to his great work at Oxford was destined to 
be revived with all the force of the Catholic Church behind 
him, long kept him in some measure hopeful. That antici- 
pation had been renewed by his very appointment to the 
University, as we can see in the letter to Mrs. Froude 


already cited. It is apparent, too, in the eloquent passage in 
the first of his preliminary discourses, in which he claims to 
follow the guidance of the Holy See, in spite of all worldly 
discouragement, confident that Peter would prove to be on 
the winning side. True, he was in the decline of life, but a 
great work might yet be done for God. He might make the 
Catholic capital city of the Kingdom, as he had made Oxford, 
a centre of religion as well as of learning. This hope he was 
slow to abandon for at his age it might well be the last 
chance of considerable achievement. He kept using words 
of hopefulness at a time when trial succeeding trial was accu- 
mulating for him the feeling of crushing disappointment 
which is so patent in his ' Retrospect/ The glow of the 
' honeymoon period ' passed away in these years. Sadness 
at moments something like sourness came upon him. 
The University scheme broke down; and though he had 
appreciative friends in Dublin he failed to influence the life 
of the town. A population of busy citizens of mature life 
afforded no real parallel to Oxford. By the town at large he 
was known as little else than the bearer of a distinguished 
name. The young men in Ireland, and in England too, 
apart from the handful of boys at Stephen's Green, knew 
nothing of him. 'To the rising generation,' he wrote in 
1857 to Ambrose St. John, 'to the sons of those who knew 
me, or read what I wrote 15 or 20 years ago, I am a mere 
page of history. I do not live to them; they know nothing 
of me; they have heard my name but they have no asso- 
ciations with it. ... It was at Oxford, and by my Parochial 
Sermons, that I had influence, all that is past.' As to 
the University itself, he wrote to Mr. Pollen after his resigna- 
tion that some of its founders were, 'like Frankenstein, scared 
at their own monster.' 

When he republished his lectures on the 'Scope and 
Nature of University Education,' he omitted the passage 
in which he had prophesied the success of the University 
on the strength of the Pope's command that it should be 
undertaken. He was too honest not to face facts, and he 
left among the Retrospective Notes a memorandum in which 
he stated that the feeling therein expressed had been weak- 
ened by the result of the University experiment. 


'I had been accustomed,' he wrote, 'to believe that, over 
and above that attribute of infallibility which attached to the 
doctrinal decisions of the Holy See, a gift of sagacity had in 
every age characterised its occupants; so that we might be 
sure, as experience taught us, without its being a dogma of 
faith, that what the Pope determined was the very measure, 
or the very policy, expedient for the Church at the time 
when he determined. This view I have brought out at 
some length in my "Rise of Universities," first published in 
the University Gazette, and in the very first Lecture, as 
delivered, on "the Nature and Scope of Universities." I am 
obliged to say that a sentiment which history has impressed 
upon me, and impresses still, has been very considerably 
weakened as far as the present Pope, Pius IX., is concerned, 
by the experience of the result of the policy which his chosen 
councillors had led him to pursue. I cannot help thinking 
in particular that, if he had known more of the state of 
things in Ireland, he would not have taken up the quarrel 
about the higher education which his predecessor left him, 
and, if he could not religiously recognise the Queen's Col- 
leges, at least would have abstained from decreeing a Cath- 
olic University. I was a poor innocent as regards the actuaJ 
state of things in Ireland when I went there, and did not 
care to think about it, for I relied on the word of the Pope, 
but from the event I am led to think it not rash to say that I 
knew as much about Ireland as he did.' 

All this meant for Newman the deepest pain and disap- 
pointment; and at the same time came troubles with the 
Oratorian Fathers, of which a word shall be said in a sub- 
sequent chapter, which made him feel as though, even with 
some of his immediate followers, his influence was waning. 
There is a change of tone in his letters henceforth on certain 
subjects. They are sadder, more critical, less sanguine. 
And there is a suspicion of 'extreme' views. The failure of 
a scheme in which rigid principles had been enforced and 
acted upon, in defiance of what common sense and experience 
warranted as practicable, seems to have sunk deep into his 
mind. He manifested a growing inclination to make com- 
mon cause with such advocates among Catholics of a cautious 
and moderate policy as Dupanloup, Montalembert, and 
Lacordaire. And his trial was increased by the fact that in 
England the older generation of English Catholics, which, 


when he had visited St. Edmund's, Prior Park, and Ushaw, 
had so attracted him by its piety and common sense com- 
bined, was dying out, and already being superseded in 
influence by men whose temper was marked by the less 
prudent and less English tone which some of his own 
followers had done much to promote. At St. Edmund's 
W. G. Ward and Herbert Vaughan were vehemently dis- 
placing old traditions, and the same process was at work 
elsewhere under the influence of Father Faber. The years 
from 1853 to 1858 are indeed a landmark in Newman's 



WE pass now from the record of the sufferings of a singularly 
sensitive spirit in an impossible endeavour, amid surround- 
ings largely uncongenial, in a position involving tasks for 
which neither his antecedents nor his gifts fitted him, to the 
consideration of the great and permanent work which these 
years of apparent failure brought forth. If the Rector failed, 
the Christian thinker succeeded. 'And it was the opportunity 
of failure namely, his appointment as Rector that was 
the means, painful yet indispensable, of success in dealing 
with the great educational problem of the hour how Chris- 
tians were to uphold the traditionary theology and yet be 
fully alive to the changed outlook wrought by science in a 
new age; how Faith was to be definite, yet compatible with 
breadth of view. The Queen's Colleges were banned as open- 
ing the door to ' liberalism'; it was all-important not to 
commit Catholics to an opposite extreme. His lectures had 
to be intelligible and persuasive to hearers educated in the 
traditionary groove, but as they proceeded they approached 
ever nearer to tracing the desired Via Media. 

His preliminary lectures on the Scope and Nature of 
University Education were directed to emphasising the fatal 
defect underlying the constitution of the Queen's Colleges 
in so liar as they banished theology from the educational 
programme. Yet their scope was not at all unacceptable to 
those able Irish Catholics who had wished to work the 
Queen's Colleges for they had never regarded those 
Colleges as fulfilling the ideal of a Catholic education. 
The lectures purported to point out that theology is indis- 
pensable in any scheme of general knowledge such as a 
University professes to establish. By theology he means, 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 391 

as lie explains in the lectures, the science of the one God; 
'one idea unfolded in its just proportions, carried out upon 
an intelligible method, and issuing in necessary and immu- 
table results; understood, indeed, at one time and place better 
than at another; held here and there with more or less of 
inconsistency, but still, after all, in all times and places 
where it is found, the evolution, not of half a dozen ideas, 
but of one.' Of theology in this sense he adds: 'Can we 
drop it out of the circle of knowledge without allowing either 
that that circle is thereby mutilated, or, on the other hand, 
that theology is no science? ' 

'Theology, as I have described it/ he writes, 'is no 
accident of particular minds as are certain systems, for 
instance, of prophetical interpretation. It is not the sudden 
birth of a crisis as the Lutheran or Wesleyan doctrine. It is 
not the splendid development of some uprising philosophy as 
the Cartesian or Platonic. It is not the fashion of a season, 
as certain medical treatments may be considered. It has 
had a place, if not possession, in the intellectual, world from 
time immemorial; it has been received by minds the most 
various, and in systems of religion the most hostile to each 
other. It has primd facie claims upon us, so imposing that 
it can only be rejected on the ground of those claims being 
nothing more than imposing, that is, being false. . . . 
When was the world without it? Have the systems of 
Atheism or Pantheism, as sciences, prevailed in the literature 
of nations, or received a formation or attained a completeness 
such as Monotheism? ... If ever there was a subject of 
thought which had earned by prescription the right to be 
received among the studies of a University, and which could 
not be rejected except on the score of convicted imposture, 
as astrology or alchemy; if there be a science anywhere 
which at least could claim not to be ignored but to be enter- 
tained, and either distinctly accepted or distinctly repro- 
bated, or rather, which cannot be passed over in a scheme of 
universal instruction without involving a positive denial of 
its truth, it is this ancient, this far-spreading philosophy. 3 x 

These lectures are too well known for it to be necessary 
here to give any full analysis of them. If one may venture 
to speak of a leading idea in them, it is that in a University 
knowledge and enlargement of the mind are contemplated 

1 Idea of a University, p. 67. 


as an ultimate object. For this object (he argues) the science 
of God is indispensable. Neither professional skill nor con- 
troversy on behalf of religious conclusions, is the primary 
object of a University, but the formation of educated minds 
and cultivated intelligences. And Newman concluded the 
series with a plea for general cultivation among Catholics, and 
for the presence of the Church as a safeguard and a purifying 
influence in the schools of learning, as preferable to the exclu- 
sion of general literature from the education of a Catholic. 

The note struck in the last of his preliminary discourses, 
that educated Catholics in a University must face and even 
welcome truth of whatever kind, formed the direct subject 
of the later lectures given after his installation lectures 
which are especially valuable as containing suggestions made 
under the stress of actual experience. He undertook in these 
lectures the delicate task of pointing out the concessions to 
the scientific spirit which were absolutely necessary on the 
part of Catholics as well as of others. This task was indis- 
pensable if the University was to hold its own in the scientific 
world, and its abler alumni were to be enabled to look at 
modern research with a frank and unflinching eye as some- 
thing quite compatible with Christian faith. The University 
was in this sense indirectly to be an instrument, and a potent 
instrument, of apologetic. 'The reason which led me to take 
part in the establishment of the University' was, he said in 
an unpublished address of 1858, 'the wish ... to strengthen 
the defences, in a day of great danger, of the Christian 

But in order to win sympathy in this part of his task he 
had first to bring home to his colleagues and pupils the full 
grounds there were for anticipating an age of unbelief, and 
to impress on them the urgent necessity, in consequence, of 
such a philosophy of religion as would satisfy earnest and 
inquiring minds alive to the existing outlook. The word 
' agnostic 3 was not then known. Yet the tendency it 
expresses had long been noted by Newman. He foresaw its 
rapid spread. 'I write for the future/ he often said. We 
are in our own day familiar with Professor Huxley's com- 
parison of theological speculation to conjectures as to the 
politics of the inhabitants of the moon. It is almost start- 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 393 

ling to see how closely this gibe of Huxley's in the eighties 
was anticipated by Newman in the fifties. It is set forth by 
him in an address entitled 'A Form of Infidelity of the Day.' l 

'I may be describing a school of thought in its fully 
developed proportions/ he writes, 'which at present everyone 
to whom membership with it is imputed will at once begin 
to disown, and I may be pointing to teachers whom no one 
will be able to descry. Still, it is not less true that I may be 
speaking of tendencies and elements which exist, and he may 
come in person at last who comes at first to us merely in his 
spirit and in his power. 

'The teacher, then, whom I speak of, will discourse thus 
in his secret heart: he will begin, as many so far have done 
before him, by laying it down as if a position which approves 
itself to the reason, immediately that it is fairly examined, 
which is of so axiomatic a character as to have a claim to be 
treated as a first principle, and is firm and steady enough to 
bear a large superstructure upon it, that religion is not the 
subject matter of a science. "You may have opinions in 
religion; you may have theories; you may have arguments; 
you may have probabilities; you may have anything but 
demonstration, and, therefore, you cannot have science. In 
mechanics you advance from sure premisses to sure con- 
clusions; in optics you form your undeniable facts into 
system, arrive at general principles, and then again infallibly 
apply them; here you have science. On the other hand, 
there is at present no real science of the weather because you 
cannot get hold of facts and truths on which it depends; 
there is no science of the coming and going of epidemics; 
no science of the breaking out and cessation of wars; no 
science of popular likings and dislikings, or of the fashions. 
It is not that these subject matters are themselves incapable 
of science, but that, under existing circumstances, we are 
incapable of subjecting them to it. And so, in like manner," 
says the philosopher in question, "without denying that in 
the matter of religion some things are true and some things 

1 Idea of a University, p. 381. If the state of mind he describes was not 
then familiar to the world at large, to the ecclesiastical authorities so Father 
Neville has testified it was practically unknown. ' Any allusion,' writes Father 
William Neville, who was his close companion at that time, 'to the possibility of 
such a danger as trials to faith was thought strange nay more. Even in con- 
versation such an allusion was too unwelcome to be repeated. Sympathy of 
thought on the subject whether in England or in Ireland, he found little ox 


false, still we certainly are not in a position to determine the 
one or the other. And, as it would be absurd to dogmatise 
about the weather and say that 1860 will be a wet season or 
a dry season, a time of peace or war, so it is absurd for men 
in our present state to teach anything positively about the 
next world, that there is a heaven, or a hell, or a last 
judgment, or that the soul is immortal, or that there is 
a God. It is not that you have not a right to your own 
opinion, as you have a right to place implicit trust in your 
own banker or in your own physician, but undeniably such 
persuasions are not knowledge, they are not scientific, they 
cannot become public property, they are consistent with your 
allowing your friend to entertain the opposite opinion; and 
if you are tempted to be violent in your own view of the case 
in this matter of religion, then it is well to lay seriously to 
heart whether sensitiveness on the subject of your banker or 
your doctor, when he is handled sceptically by another, would 
not be taken to argue a secret misgiving in your mind about 
him, in spite of your confident profession, an absence of 
clear, unruffled certainty in his honesty or in his skill." 

'Such is our philosopher's primary position. He does 
not prove it; he does but distinctly state it; but he thinks 
it self-evident when it is distinctly stated. And there he 
leaves it. 

"'Christianity has been (according to him) the bane of 
true knowledge, for it has turned the intellect away from what 
it can know, and occupied it in what it cannot. Differences 
of opinion crop up and multiply themselves in proportion to 
the difficulty of deciding them; and the unfruitfulness of 
Theology has been, in matter of fact, the very reason, not for 
seeking better food, but for feeding on nothing else. Truth 
has been sought in the wrong direction, and the attainable 
has been put aside for the visionary. 7 " 

Such an attitude of mind as this was, in Newman's view, 
best counteracted not by a formal reply, but by the con- 
crete exhibition of a counter-ideal of the true philosophy of 
life and knowledge. 

That counter-ideal was embodied in the very institution 
which he was endeavouring to set on foot. As the agnostic 
ideal was fostered by the system followed in the Queen's 
Colleges informed by the spirit of the modern intellectual 
world, so must its opposite be fostered by a really efficient 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 395 

Catholic University animated by the spirit of Catholicism. 
The former excludes religion from the Lecture Room as 
being concerned with the unknowable, and banishes definite 
theology as tending to obscurantism. It concentrates the 
imagination on the advance of the positive sciences as the 
one inspiring goal in the search for knowledge. The ideal 
Catholic University on the other hand upholds and recog- 
nises the Catholic Church 'the concrete representative of 
things invisible/ and treats as unquestionable the relation 
of theological science to reality, while, at the same time, its 
devotion to the secular sciences and recognition of their inde- 
pendence in their own sphere should be equally thorough and 
ungrudging. The alleged obscurantism of theology is thus 
disproved by visible facts. Solmtur ambulando. 

'Some persons will say/ he writes in his first University 
Sermon at Dublin, ' that I am thinking of confining, distorting, 
and stunting the growth of the intellect by ecclesiastical super- 
vision. I have no such thought. Nor have I any thought of 
a compromise, as if religion must give up something, and 
science something. I wish the intellect to range with the 
utmost freedom, and religion to enjoy an equal freedom; but 
what I am stipulating for is, that they should be found in one 
and the same place, and exemplified in the same persons. I 
want to destroy that diversity of centres which puts everything 
into confusion by creating a contrariety of influences. I wish 
the same spots and the same individuals to be at once oracles 
of philosophy and shrines of devotion. . . . 

'I want the intellectual layman to be religious, and the 
devout ecclesiastic to be intellectual. 7 

It was to depicting a Catholic University as the repre- 
sentative of scientific truth as well as religious that he 
devoted himself in the lectures on science and literature 
which succeeded his installation as Rector. But we must at 
starting bear in mind that their prospect of success was depend- 
ent on their very limitations. Had he treated in detail the 
new hypotheses which were most inconsistent with some 
traditionary views, he would have had many religious men 
who were not as far-sighted as himself actively attacking him 
if he conceded more than they would yet admit to be neces- 
sary. His object was to forestall this difficulty. He had to 
establish far-reaching principles by illustrations which could 


raise no controversy. He could thus indicate without 
offence that educated way of looking at theological science 
in its relation to the secular sciences which, when once put 
in action, when it had become a temper of mind, would make 
the work of assimilation take place naturally and almost 

This is the character of the work he attempted in some 
of his articles in the University gazette, 1 to which he was 
a constant contributor, as well as in some highly valuable 
and significant lectures to the Schools of Letters and of 

In order to bring himself to undertake so delicate a task 
Newman needed two things the sense that duty called 
him to the work, and a position in which he had a precedent 
for it. The former existed in his appointment as Rector 
under the special sanction of the Holy See. The latter he 
had in the writings and status of such University Professors 
as Albertus Magnus, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Alexander 
of Hales, in the very parallel circumstances of the thirteenth 
century to which he so often referred. These Catholic 
thinkers, with a courage which startled and dismayed the 
more conservative theologians, in place of continuing to 
oppose philosophical systems and weapons which had long 
proved such redoubtable foes to Christian thought notably 
the philosophy of Aristotle, by a bold change of policy 
adopted and used them in the service of Christianity. On 
a similar principle Newman urged on Christians of his 
own day the candid recognition of modern scientific hy- 
potheses in all their degrees of probability the fearless 
use of the inductive method in physical science and history 

The department of the philosophy of religion, which so 
urgently needed cultivation to meet new difficulties, was one 
which he regarded as specially suitable to cultivated lay 
writers, and thus within the province of those whom he was 
directly training. Here then, again, he had precedent on 
his side. 

'Theologians inculcate the matter and determine the 
details of revelation/ he wrote in one of his lectures; 'they 
1 Republished in Historical Sketches, vol. iit. 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 397 

view it from within; philosophers view it from without, and 
this external view may be called the Philosophy of Religion, 
and the office of delineating it externally is most gracefully 
performed by laymen. In the first age laymen were 
most commonly the Apologists. Such were Justin, Tatian, 
Athenagoras, Aristides, Hermias, Minucius Felix, Arnobius, 
and Lactantius. In like manner in this age some of the 
most valuable defences of the Church are from laymen, 
as De Maistre, Chateaubriand, Nicholas, Montalembert, and 

Newman, then, set himself in lecture after lecture, when 
his work as Rector had fairly begun, to delineate the ideal 
which should form the genius loci in a Catholic University 
an ideal which each of its alumni should reflect according to 
his capacity. How could a University be really the defender 
of a particular faith, yet the home of impartial research? 
How could Catholics be genuine men of science, following 
the scientific reason whithersoever it led them, yet uphold a 
theology which some of the ablest contemporary writers 
assailed in the name of science itself. How could it be 
Catholic yet not sectarian; committed to definite views yet 
sympathetic, as real cultivation makes men, with all genuine 
thought? Here were obvious problems at the outset which 
he set himself to consider. 

And as a man will, in the heat of conversation, take any 
objects which may be ready to hand to illustrate his argu- 
ment in the concrete, and will avail himself if he needs 
a diagram of such chalk, pen, or pencil as he may find, 
so Newman illustrated his great and far-reaching ideal by 
the half-formed institution at Stephen's Green, Dublin. 
Some professors indeed he had of calibre fully adequate to 
the realisation of his ideal; but his Chancellor was opposed 
to it, and his undergraduates were but a handful, barely half 
of them even British subjects. 

A real and accurate apprehension of the bearings of new 
speculation on revealed truth could so he urged in his 
writings of this time be gained only by full and free dis- 
cussion. Among the unlearned such discussion might be 
excessively ' startling and dangerous. This prospect was in 
modern times immensely increased by the growth of the 


periodical Press and of general reading among the unedu- 
cated. Hence the special value of a University the resi- 
dence exclusively of those devoted to learning. In the Middle 
Ages the Universities had been the homes of those active 
minds whose business it was to meet contemporary specula- 
tion and scientific criticism, not by repressing it, but by 
the energetic sifting process which ultimately resulted in 
the assimilation of what was valuable and true in it. The 
gradual diminution almost to vanishing-point of this impor- 
tant function in the economy of the Church, the decay of 
Catholic Universities, and of the theological schools, a remi- 
niscence of which long lingered in the old Sorbonne, appeared 
to him a most serious fact. It destroyed the normal oppor- 
tunity for the safe exercise, among Catholic scholars, of that 
freedom of thought which he maintained to be in its proper 
sphere as essential to the development of a satisfying 
theology as was the principle of authority a freedom 
which had been so conspicuous in the formation within the 
Church of the great scholastic synthesis of knowledge. It 
was an inspiring ideal to do something towards restoring 
an arena for such free discussion which had now quite a new 
urgency for thinking minds. 

C A University/ he wrote in the University Gazette, 'is 
the place to which a thousand schools make contributions, in 
which the intellect may safely range and speculate, sure to 
find its equal in some antagonist activity, and its judge in 
the tribunal of truth. It is a place where inquiry is pushed 
forward, and discoveries perfected and verified, and rash- 
nesses rendered innocuous and error exposed by the collision 
of mind with mind, and knowledge with knowledge. . . . 
Such is a University in its idea and in its purpose; such in 
good measure has it before now been in fact. Shall it ever 
be again? We are going forward in the strength of the Cross, 
under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin, in the name of 
St. Patrick, to attempt it.' 1 

In two lectures belonging to the year 1855 Newman 
indicated his views on the nature of the freedom which must 
be accorded in any University worthy of the name to the 
men of science in their own sphere. One is entitled 'Chris- 

1 Rcpublished in Historical Sketches, iii. vide p. 16. 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 399 

tianity and Physical Science,' the other 'Christianity and 
Scientific Investigation.' 

In the lecture on 'Christianity and Physical Science' 
Newman deals ostensibly with the suspicion, so widely preva- 
lent in the fifties, that there 'really is at bottom a certain 
contrariety between the declarations of religion and the 
results of physical enquiry.' Hence irreligious minds were 
prophesying the disproof of Revelation, and religious minds 
were 'jealous of the researches and prejudiced against the 
discoveries of science.' 'The consequence is,' he adds, 'on 
the one side a certain contempt of theology, on the other a 
disposition to undervalue, to deny, to ridicule, to discourage, 
almost to denounce the labours of the physiological, astro- 
nomical, or geological investigator.' l 

While such a contrariety may (he admits) exist between 
the views of certain representatives of theology and of science, 
he earnestly maintains that the true theologian who realises 
the limits of his science, and the man of science who does 
not confound speculation with genuine scientific investigation 
and proof, are in no danger of collision. Science proper might 
safely in a Catholic University claim all the freedom it needs 
without fear of opposing true theology. 

He disarmed theological opposition by an eloquent 
passage in which he denounced the application of the 
empirical and inductive method to theology as barren and 
unsuccessful. Yet even here he was careful to avoid the 
exaggerations so common among loose thinkers. What 
he maintains on this subject is only that thorough-going 
empiricism is equivalent to naturalism, and tells us nothing 
of God. Empirical science cannot therefore make a the- 
ology at all. Nor can it interfere with a faultless theo- 
logical deduction. But that it can in certain cases correct 
long-standing beliefs which have been held by Christian 
theologians as well as by the less learned, or the inaccurate 
deductions made by individual divines from revealed truth 
he indicates by instances from history. While eloquently 
defending the deductive theology, he is careful to note that 
its territory is as a rule quite separate from that of physical 
science, and consequently does not interfere with its freedom, 

1 Idea of a University, p. 429. 


The chosen territory of theology, he explains, Is the invisible 
world, not the visible. Theology 'contemplates the world 
not of matter but of mind; the supreme intelligence; souls 
and their destiny; conscience and duty; the past, present, 
and future dealings of the Creator and the creature/ 1 If 
then 'Theology be the philosophy of the supernatural world 
and Science the philosophy of the natural, Theology and 
Science, whether in their respective ideas, or again in their 
own actual fields, are incommensurable, incapable of col- 
lision, and needing at most to be connected, never to be 
reconciled.' 2 

Here is the first ground on which the provisional freedom 
from theological interference which is necessary to modern 
science is justified that the provinces of the two sciences 
are for the most part separate. The second he indicates quite 
plainly, though he does not state it so fully. When the 
visible world is, in exceptional cases, touched by the state- 
ments of sacred writers, these statements, if at first sight 
they seem to be opposed to facts ascertained by science, are 
eventually interpreted by theologians so as to accord with 
those facts. He gives as instances the opposition of certain 
divines on Scriptural grounds to belief in the antipodes when 
it was first broached, and again to the Copernican system. 
In both cases the theological opposition was eventually with- 
drawn. ( Experience may variously guide and modify the 
deductions of Theology/ he writes. Again he indicates the 
same conclusion when he speaks of the few cases where Holy 
Scripture does declare facts concerning the visible world, the 
territory belonging to science. For he singles out instances 
in which it was already in 1855 evident that the more literal 
interpretation of the sacred documents in which Revelation 
was contained was contrary to the conclusions of the 
scientific world or to the facts of history, and yet that 
the theologians had already seen clearly that they must 
accept those conclusions. He adds other instances in which 
the interpretation of early theologians has been since dis- 
proved. 'It is true/ he writes, 'that Revelation has in one 
or two instances advanced beyond its chosen territory, which 
is the invisible world, in order to throw light on the history 

l ldea of a University, p. 434. *Ibid. p. 431. 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 401 

of the material universe. Holy Scripture does, it is perfectly 
true, declare a few momentous facts, so few that they may 
be counted, of a physical character. It speaks of a process 
of formation out of chaos which occupied six days; it speaks 
of the firmament; of the sun and moon being created for the 
sake of the earth; of the earth being immovable/ l Again 
he points out that ' there have been comments on Scrip- 
ture prophecy 3 long relied on, and touching the world of 
fact, which science or experience could ultimately verify or 
disprove, of each of which we may now at least say that it 
is 'not true in that broad, plain sense in which it was once 
received.' 2 

This lecture, with its measured and carefully guarded plea 
for liberty in the pursuit of physical science, was delivered in 
November 1855, in the School of Medicine. Encouraged by 
its success, he attempted a somewhat fuller one on the same 
lines, still more plainly advocating freedom of investigation 
and freedom of discussion for all the positive sciences and 
for theology itself. 

This lecture on ' Christianity and Scientific Investi- 
gation' takes a wider sweep, and it is necessary to recall 
one or two particulars as to the state of thought at the 

Biblical criticism was not yet to the front. But the stric- 
tures on long received views of theologians from the point 
of view of the ethnologist, the historian, the representative 
of physical science, were in full course. The chronology of 
the Old Testament, the derivation of the human race from 
one stock, the universality of the Deluge, and other such 
subjects were being fully discussed among the thinkers. The 
most conservative theologians, among Protestants as well as 
Catholics, were inclined to regard the new theories of the 
time as aggressions on theology, to be repelled. Newman, on 
the contrary, saw very early that, with whatever incidental 
extravagances, they "represented a fruitful activity, a real 
advance in the positive sciences, although they were doubt- 
less used by the type of scientist represented a few years 
later by Huxley and Tyndall, as weapons of attack on cur- 
rent orthodoxy. 

1 Idea of a University, p. 439- 2 H>id. p. 443. 


In vindicating the rights of science the Rector had, of 
course, at heart the reputation of the University, knowing 
well that undue ecclesiastical interference with science would 
at once brand the institution in the eyes of the whole scien- 
tific world as hopelessly inefficient. 

If we bear in mind the date at which his lecture on the 
subject of 'Christianity and Scientific Investigation 7 was 
written 1855 it will, I think, be generally admitted to be 
a remarkable instance of wise foresight. Doubtless as we 
read it after the lapse of half a century, in which, more than 
ever before, these problems have been under active discus- 
sion, and the historical and critical sciences have made such 
considerable advance, we feel that certain points might have 
been emphasised more clearly. But its essential value is now 
what it was, as almost a Magna Charta of the freedom de- 
manded by secular science in a Catholic University. 

Its main argument is as follows. First, on the lines of 
the previous lecture, but with more distinctness, Newman 
points out that there may be opinions prevalent among Cath- 
olics which at a given time are regarded by the multitude, 
and even by theologians, as certain. They may be drawn by 
deductive argument from revealed truth, or they may be 
even confused with revealed truth. This has been so in the 
past beyond question. The belief that the last day was at 
hand after Our Lord's death, he points out, was universal 
among Christians, and it was a deduction (which proved 
mistaken) from His own words. The belief that the earth 
was stationary was, in Newman's words, generally received 
as if the Apostles had expressly delivered it both orally and 
in writing. 5 The event disproved the one, the advance of 
science disproved the other opinion. But the lesson afforded 
by this disproof of what had long been so confidently held to 
be sacred and undeniable remained to be learnt and to be 
applied to the present. Opinions maintained in our own 
day by divines, or by the multitude of Catholics with equal 
confidence, as certain consequences of revealed truth, might, 
he intimates, prove to be equally mistaken. Therefore the 
path of scientific conjecture cannot fairly be blocked by 
such opinions. Nothing is harder for the uneducated mind 
than to apply the lessons of the past to the present, A 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 403 

Catholic University was to develop in its alumni that can- 
dour and refinement which should enable them to do so. 

If such long-standing opinions might ultimately prove 
to have been unfounded, theologians had no right to inter- 
fere with scientific investigation on the ground that its trend 
ran for the time counter to opinions even universally received 
within the Church. 'I am not/ Newman is careful to repeat, 
c supposing any collision with dogma; I am speaking of 
opinions of divines or of the multitude parallel to those in 
former times of the sun going round the earth, or of the last 
day being at hand.' 

On the other hand, the men of science also may prove 
to have been wrong in what they advance; but the plea 
for freedom stands equally on that hypothesis. The very 
freedom which science demands issues in a great deal of 
speculation, therefore in many false hypotheses battens 
d'essai in a good deal of rash theorising. All this is the 
normal road to truth a circuitous road, often through stages 
of error. You may have to try many keys in a lock in order 
to find the one which fits it. For this reason the man of 
science, who is often far too sanguine as to the truth of the 
newest hypothesis, must not interfere with the theologian or 
challenge him to amend his conclusions or his interpreta- 
tions of Scripture in deference to scientific speculations, any 
more than he can himself be called upon to submit to theo- 
logical interference. It must be left to theologians them- 
selves to recognise at what point the evidence adduced by 
the secular sciences should affect their own conclusions. 

The general outcome of Newman's remarks is that all 
sciences, secular and religious, should be allowed by a Catholic 
University to develop provisionally without interference from 
without; and that temporary antagonisms in their conclusions 
should be patiently tolerated; that such contradictions are to 
be expected in the natural course of things, because of the 
imperfections of human knowledge. A premature synthesis 
is deprecated as really in spirit unscientific; although it is what 
so many men of science imperiously demand. It is unscientific, 
for it leaves out of account the essentially progressive nature of 
the positive sciences, the temporary reign of unproved hypoth- 
eses which are on their trial. The theologian rightly upholds 


the traditionary conclusions until the road to their correction 
is unmistakably found. For those conclusions are in posses- 
sion and have (it may be) become bound up with the religious 
life of the many. On the other hand, the time will come 
when the trend of science is too clear on specific points to 
allow him to maintain positions tenable in pre-scientific days, 
but contradicting hypotheses which have come to be uni- 
versally admitted and taught in the scientific schools. Thus 
the intelligent theologian of the seventeenth century could 
with Bacon and Tycho Brahe deny Copernicanism. To deny 
it a hundred years later would have meant obscurantism. 

The whole tendency of the lecture we are considering is 
against this danger. It was obvious that if religious thinkers 
ceased to be on the alert, or to acquaint themselves with the 
general drift of contemporary science and thought, many 
absolutely antiquated opinions on the borderland between 
theology and the positive sciences would remain in the text- 
books. The result would gradually become most serious, 
and bring with it the danger of something like a revolution 
in theology; for if obvious corrections were long neglected 
or opposed by authority, the point would eventually come 
at which the normal powers of gradual development in the- 
ology would not be equal to the situation; just as neglect 
of obvious remedies for a physical disorder may make a 
dangerous operation necessary which could otherwise have 
been avoided. 

In this connection Newman urged two points : 
(i) It Was the conservative opinions of zealous theologians, 
or of theological tribunals, and not any infallible utterances 
of the Holy See, which were in the past invoked as decisive 
against new speculations which ultimately proved true. 
(2) In the palmary instance in which theologians had suc- 
cessfully emerged from the struggle with bewildering and 
aggressive speculation, representing the i science' of the day 
(in the thirteenth century), the victory had been won by 
Catholic theologians not through repression or intolerance, 
but by the most strenuous intellectual labour, in which the 
methods of theology had been transformed and largely 
adjusted to those of the intellectual movement whose excesses 
were anti-Christian. 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 405 

In illustration of the first point Newman reminds us that 
St. Boniface, ( great in sanctity though not in secular know- 
ledge/ complained to the Holy See of a writer who taught 
the existence of the antipodes, and the Holy See declined to 
condemn the opinion. 

As to the second point, he observed that even when the 
Church was at the height of her temporal power in the 
thirteenth century it was not by intolerant opposition but 
by freedom of discussion, among her theologians, of the new 
theories of the time, by their adopting what was good even in 
the hitherto detested philosophy of Aristotle, that the panthe- 
istic and rationalistic movement of the neo-Aristotelians was 
effectually checked. He could urge the example of the ' Angelic 
Doctor ' even on the most conservative Irish divines with effect. 
The moral has often been pointed in recent years. Then it 
was practically new. It is still effective. At that time it 
must have been far more so from its comparative novelty. 1 

The conclusion pointed to is that a body of thought, 
candid and thorough, among Catholics which includes and 
locates the scientific theories of the time, reverses Lord 
Morley's boast, 'We will not attack Christianity, we will 
explain it.' A Catholic University representing such a body 
of thought would be a source of far greater strength to Chris- 
tianity than experiments in polemic which might be mis- 
directed for want of adequate knowledge of the situation. 
On some of these points Newman's own words must be recalled. 

The fundamental ideal of a University as the impartial 
representative of the sciences, including, but not dominated 
by, theology, is given in the following passage: 

'We count it a great thing, and justly so, to plan and 
carry out a wide political organization. To bring under one 
yoke, after the manner of old Rome, a hundred discordant 
peoples; to maintain each of them in its own privileges 
within its legitimate range of action; to allow them severally 
the indulgence of national feelings, and the stimulus of rival 
interests; and yet withal to blend them into one great social 
establishment, and to pledge them to the perpetuity of the 
one imperial power; this is an achievement which carries 
with it the unequivocal token of genius in the race which 
effects it. ... 

1 Idea of a University t p. 489. 


'What an empire is in political history, such is a 
University in the sphere of philosophy and research. It 
is, as I have said, the high protecting power of all know- 
ledge and science, of fact and principle, of inquiry and 
discovery, of experiment and speculation; it maps out the 
territory of the intellect, and sees that the boundaries of 
each province are religiously respected, and that there is 
neither encroachment nor surrender on any side. It acts as 
umpire between truth and truth, and, taking into account the 
nature and importance of each, assigns to all their due order 
of precedence. It maintains no one department of thought 
exclusively, however ample and noble; and it sacrifices none. 
It is deferential and loyal, according to their respective 
weight, to the claims of literature, of physical research, of 
history, of metaphysics, of theological science. It is im- 
partial towards them all, and promotes each in its own place 
and for its own object. It is ancillary certainly, and of 
necessity, to the Catholic Church; but in the same way that 
one of the Queen's judges is an officer of the Queen's, and 
nevertheless determines certain legal proceedings between the 
Queen and her subjects. . . . 

'Its several professors are like the ministers of various 
political powers at one court or conference. They represent 
their respective sciences, and attend to the private interests 
of those sciences respectively; and, should dispute arise be- 
tween those sciences, they are the persons to talk over and 
arrange it without risk of extravagant pretensions on any 
side, of angry collision, or of popular commotion. A liberal 
philosophy becomes the habit of minds thus exercised; a 
breadth and spaciousness of thought, in which lines, 
seemingly parallel, may converge at leisure, and principles, 
recognised as incommensurable, may be safely antagonistic.' 1 

But while a University thus prepared the way for a syn- 
thesis of all knowledge by defining and classifying the existing 
sciences and their outcome, an actual synthesis is in our present 
state impossible. 'The great Universe,' he writes, 'moral and 
material, sensible and supernatural, cannot be gauged and 
meted by even the greatest of human intellects, and its con- 
stituent parts admit indeed of comparison and adjustment but 
not of fusion.' Moreover, the sciences are progressive, and 
their present conclusions are in many cases irreconcilable. 

1 'Lecture on Christianity and Scientific Investigation.' See Idea of a 
University) pp. 458-60. 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 407 

f l am making no outrageous request/ he adds, 'when, in 
the name of a University, I ask religious writers, jurists, 
economists, physiologists, chemists, geologists, and histo- 
rians, to go on quietly and in a neighbourly way in their own 
respective lines of speculation, research, and experiment, with 
full faith in the consistency of that multiform truth which 
they share between them, in a generous confidence that they 
will be ultimately consistent, one and all, in their combined 
results, though there may be momentary collisions, awkward 
appearances, and many forebodings and prophecies of con- 
trariety, and at all times things hard to the imagination, 
though not, I repeat, to the reason. . . . 

'He who believes Revelation with the absolute faith 
which is the prerogative of a Catholic is not the nervous 
creature who starts at every sound and is fluttered by every 
strange and novel appearance which meets his eye. . . . He 
knows full well there is no science whatever but in the course 
of its extension runs the risk of infringing without any mean- 
ing of offence on its part the path of other sciences : and he 
knows also that if there be any one science which, from its 
sovereign and unassailable position, can calmly bear such- 
unintentional collisions on the part of the children of earth, 
it is Theology. He is sure, and nothing shall make him 
doubt, that, if anything seems to be proved by astronomer, 
or geologist, or chronologist, or antiquarian, or ethnologist, in 
contradiction to the dogmas of faith, that point will eventually 
turn out, first, not to be proved, or secondly, not contradictory, 
or thirdly, not contradictory to anything really revealed, but 
to something which has been confused with revelation/ * 

On the absolute necessity of free discussion he writes as 

'Now, while this free discussion is, to say the least, so 
safe for religion, or' rather so expedient, it is on the other 
hand simply necessary for progress in Science; and I shall 
now go on to insist on this side of the subject. I say, then, 
that it is a matter of primary importance in the cultivation 
of those sciences, in which truth is discoverable by the 
human intellect, that the investigator should be free, inde- 
pendent, unshackled in his movements; that he should be 
allowed and enabled, without impediment, to fix his mind 
intently, nay, exclusively, on his special object, without the 
risk of being distracted every other minute in the process and 

1 Idea of a University, pp. 465-66. 


progress of his inquiry, by charges of temerariousness ? or by 
warnings against extravagance or scandal/ l 

No doubt this freedom has its dangers, especially in 
relation to religious faith as it exists in weaker and less intel- 
lectual minds. 'There must be great care taken to avoid 
scandal/ he writes, i or shocking the popular mind, or unset- 
tling the weak. 7 

Such care, however, being supposed, the scientific inquirer 
may, and must, claim provisional independence from the 
encroachments of the representatives of the current theo- 
logical opinions. 

'A scientific speculator or inquirer is not bound, in con- 
ducting his researches, to be every moment adjusting his 
course by the maxims of the schools or by popular tradi- 
tions, or by those of any other science distinct from his own. 
. . . Great minds need elbow-room, not indeed in the domain 
of faith, but of thought. And so indeed do lesser minds, and 
all minds. There are many persons in the world who are 
called, and with a great deal of truth, geniuses. They had 
been gifted by nature with some particular faculty or capac- 
ity; and, while vehemently excited and imperiously ruled 
by it, they are blind to everything else. They are enthusi- 
asts in their own line and are simply dead to the beauty of 
any line except their own. Accordingly they think their own 
line the only line in the whole world worth pursuing, and 
they feel a sort of contempt for such studies as move upon 
any other line. Now, these men may be, and often are, very 
good Catholics, and have not a dream of anything but affec- 
tion and deference towards Catholicity; nay, perhaps are 
zealous in its interests. Yet if you insist that in their specu- 
lations, researches, or conclusions in their particular science, 
it is not enough that they should submit to the Church gen- 
erally, and acknowledge its dogmas, but that they must get 
up all that divines have said or the multitude believed upon 
religious matters, you simply crush and stamp out the flame 
within them and they can do nothing at all. 2 

The late Mr. Pollen told the present writer that the lecture 
on ' Christianity and Scientific Investigation/ though approved 
by such excellent theologians as Dr. O'Reilly and Dr. Russell 

^Lecture on Christianity and Scientific Investigation.' See Idea of a 
University, p. 471. 
2 Ibid. p. 476. 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 409 

as entirely orthodox, was judged by them inexpedient in view 
of the prevailing temper on matters theological, and the views 
of Dr. Cullen: and the lecture, though subsequently pub- 
lished, was not delivered. Lacordaire once compared modern 
theology to a Swiss tour in which everyone follows a guide 
who follows the beaten track. 1 Originality of treatment had 
(he said) come to be out of fashion. Newman had, as we 
shall see later on, a feeling somewhat akin to Lacordaire's. 

It was the lectures on Literature rather than those on 
Science which marked a distinct phase in Newman's own style. 
As the restraint which characterised the Oxford Sermons 
had given place to the far more ornate and rhetorical manner 
of the Sermons to Mixed Congregations, so now a somewhat 
similar change showed itself in the prose essays which he 
delivered as lectures. The presence of an Irish audience 
probably contributed to the change. There is in the lectures 
a suspicion of the copiousness of language which marks the 
Celt. There is far more of self-expression in them than in 
his earlier writings. The following passage from one of them 
represents, I think, the quality that characterises the whole: 

' Since the thoughts and reasonings of an author have, as 
I have said, a personal character, no wonder that his style is 
not only the image of his subject, but of his mind. That 
pomp of language, that full and tuneful diction, that felici- 
tousness in the choice and exquisiteness in the collocation of 
words, which to prosaic writers seems artificial, is nothing else 
but the mere habit and way of a lofty intellect. Aristotle, in 
his sketch of the magnanimous man, tells us that his voice is 
deep, his motions slow, and his stature commanding. In like 
manner, the elocution of a great intellect is great. His 
language expresses, not only his great thoughts, but his real 
self. Certainly he might use fewer words than he uses; but 
he fertilizes his simplest ideas, and germinates into a multi- 
tude of details, and prolongs the inarch of his sentences, and 
sweeps round to the full diapason of his harmony, as if 
iriBtt y<uW, rejoicing in his own vigour and richness of resource. 
I say, a narrow critic will call it verbiage, when really it is a 
sort of fulness of heart, parallel to that which makes the merry 
boy whistle as he walks, or the strong man, like the smith in the 
novel, flourish his club when there is no one to fight with.' 

1 Inner Life of Lacordaire, by Chocarne (English translation), p. 72. 


Into the department of literature the question of theo- 
logical censorship entered less than into that of science. But 
the main lessons Newman urged in its regard were similar. 
He was equally emphatic in both departments as to the 
necessity of breadth of outlook for a truly liberal education. 
To identify Catholic education with the 'hothouse' attitude 
would be to exclude the intellectual classes from the Church 
those very classes for which, in Newman's view, Catholicism, 
adequately interpreted, was the one sufficient antidote to 
agnosticism. Moreover, such a course prevented the growth 
of strong men who would be strong apologists. It closed the 
mind instead of opening it. It realised his celebrated descrip- 
tion of 'bigotry/ not that of faith. The plan, then, of forming 
an English Catholic literature as the exclusive intellectual 
food of Catholic minds was in Newman's eyes quite unsuitable 
for a University, and he disclaimed it in a series of lectures to 
the School of Arts from which I proceed to make some extracts. 
To begin with, he rebuts the supposition that a University has 
any special concern with distinctively religious literature 
at all: 

'If by a Catholic literature were meant nothing more or 
less than a religious literature/ he said, 'its writers would 
be mainly ecclesiastics; just as writers on law are mainly 
lawyers, and writers on medicine are mainly physicians or 
surgeons. And if this be so, a Catholic Literature is no 
object special to a University, unless a University is to 
be considered identical with a Seminary or a Theological 
School. . . . 

'And if, moreover, the religious literature becomes con- 
troversial or polemical, it ceases to have the character which 
will enlist the sympathy of a cultivated layman.' 1 

Against this false view of Catholic literature as special 
pleading on behalf of religion Newman enters his earnest 
protest. But in point of fact true literary culture is not (he 
holds) attainable for an Englishman by the study of any 
group of works belonging to one society even though that 
society is the Catholic Church. Catholics cannot form an 
English literature, though they may contribute to it. English 
literature has been the issue of the national life as a whole. 
1 Idea of a University, p. 296. 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 411 

c lf a literature be, as I have said, the voice of a particular 
nation, it requires a territory and a period as large as that 
nation's extent and history to mature in. It is broader and 
deeper than the capacity of any body of men, however 
gifted, or any system of teaching, however true. It is the 
exponent, not of truth, but of nature, which is true only in 
its elements. It is the result of the mutual action of a hun- 
dred simultaneous influences and operations, and the issue 
of a hundred strange accidents in independent places and 
times; it is the scanty compensating produce of the wild 
discipline of the world and of life, so fruitful in failures, and 
it is the concentration of those rare manifestations of intel- 
lectual power which no one can account for. It is made up, 
in the particular language here under consideration, of human 
beings as heterogeneous as Burns and Bunyan, De Foe 
and Johnson, Goldsmith and Cowper, Law and Fielding, 
Scott and Byron. The remark has been made that the his- 
tory of an author is the history of his works; it is far more 
exact to say that, at least in the case of great writers, the 
history of their works is the history of their fortunes or their 
times. Each is, in his turn, the man of his age, the type 
of a generation, or the interpreter of a crisis. He is made for 
his day, and his day for him. Hooker would not have been but 
for the existence of Catholics and Puritans the defeat of the 
former and the rise of the latter; Clarendon would not have 
been without the Great Rebellion; Hobbes is the prophet of 
the reaction to scoffing infidelity; and Addison is the child of 
the Revolution and its attendant changes. If there be any 
of our classical authors who might at first sight have been 
pronounced a University man, with the exception of Johnson, 
Addison is he; yet even Addison, the son and brother of 
clergymen, the fellow of an Oxford Society, the resident of a 
College which still points to the walk which he planted, must 
be something more in order to take his place among the 
Classics of the language, and owed the variety of matter to 
his experience of life, and to the call made on his resources 
by the exigencies of his day. The world he lived in made him 
and used him. While his writings educated his own gen- 
eration, they have delineated it for all posterity after him.' 1 

In one of those characteristic passages which live in the 
memory, Newman points out that a thoroughly 'bowdlerised' 
literature, still more a literature with a religious purpose, 

1 Idea of a University, p. 311. 


cannot be a national literature which should represent the 
nation as it is the human nature in it with its excesses as 
well as its virtues. 

'Man's work will savour of man; in his elements and 
powers excellent and admirable, but prone to disorder and 
excess, to error and to sin. Such too will be his literature; 
it will have the beauty and the fierceness, the sweetness and 
the rankness, of the natural man, and, with all its richness 
and greatness, will necessarily offend the senses of those who, 
in the Apostle's words, are really " exercised to discern be- 
tween good and evil" "It is said of the holy Sturme," says 
an Oxford writer, "that, in passing a horde of unconverted 
Germans as they were bathing and gambolling in the stream, 
he was so overpowered by the intolerable scent which arose 
from them that he nearly fainted away." National literature 
is, in a parallel way, the untutored movements of the reason, 
imagination, passions, and affections of the natural man, the 
leapings and the friskings, the plungings and the snortings, 
the sportings and the buffoonings, the clumsy play and the 
aimless toil, of the noble, lawless savage of God's intellectual 
creation ' (p. 316). 

The conclusion of his remarks is most characteristic, and 
reminds one of his object of protesting against a wrong 
direction which he saw in the programme of the narrower 
school, which he desired to arrest, whether he could succeed 
or not in substituting something wholly satisfactory. 

'And now having shown what it is that a Catholic Uni- 
versity does not think of doing, what it need not do, and 
what it cannot do, I might go on to trace out in detail what 
it is that it really might and will encourage and create. But, 
as such an investigation would neither" be difficult to pursue 
nor easy to terminate, I prefer to leave the subject at the 
preliminary point to which I have brought it.' 

Yet, together with his protests against intellectual nar- 
rowness, whether in dealing with science or with literature, 
against fear of the human reason or exclusion of the great 
classics, we have indications of two lines of thought tending 
in the opposite direction, which -he maintained with equal 
insistence. One was that, although reason rightly exercised 
would in the long run justify belief in Theism and Catholic 
Christianity in the face of all difficulties, still in man as he 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 413 

exists, with his passions and with the constant presence of the 
visible world to bring forgetfulness of the invisible, a force 
stronger than his unaided intellect is needed to keep alive and 
vivid those first principles on which religions belief depends. 
And that force is supplied by the living Catholic Church. 
Secondly, while free discussion is essential in order to clear 
the issues, in the complicated structure of human knowledge, 
the intellect of man has actually and historically a constant 
tendency to exceed its lawful limits and arrive at unbelief; by 
reason of its failure in an impossible attempt. This tendency 
was his old enemy, religious liberalism, which he defined as 
* the exercise of thought on subjects on which, from the con- 
stitution of the human mind, thought cannot be brought to a 
successful issue.' Here again the antidote was the controlling 
action of the Catholic Church in arresting speculation when it 
ran to excesses beyond the power of man's mental digestion. 
He recognised a value in her repressive action, as he also 
recognised the necessity in its place of free discussion. Each 
principle needed assertion; neither could be allowed to be 

With this side of the question he dealt in part in his 
farewell lecture given in 1858 the last words he spoke to 
the University as its Rector. And we have in this lecture 
the general lines of his reply to the earlier one quoted in this 
chapter, on 'a form of infidelity of the day/ 

The lecture was delivered in the School of Medicine after 
his final resignation, and he introduced the subject by referring 
to the science to which his auditors were devoted. 

'You will observe/ he said, c that those higher sciences of 
which I have spoken, Morals and Religion, are not rep- 
resented to the intelligence of the world by intimations and 
notices strong and obvious, such as those which are the 
foundation of Physical Science. The physical nature lies 
before us, patent to the sight, ready to the touch, appealing 
to the senses in so unequivocal a way that the science 
which is founded upon it is as real to us as the fact of 
our personal existence. But the phenomena, which are 
the . basis of morals and religion, have nothing of this 
luminous evidence. Instead of being obtruded upon our 
notice so that we cannot possibly overlook them, they 
are the dictates either of Conscience or of Faith. They 


are faint shadows and tracings, certain indeed, but delicate, 
fragile, and almost evanescent, which the mind recognizes 
at one time, not at another, discerns when it is calm, loses 
when it is in agitation. The reflection of sky and mountains 
in the lake is a proof that sky and mountains are around it, 
but the twilight, or the mist, or the sudden storm hurries 
away the beautiful image, which leaves behind it no memorial 
of what it was. Something like this are the Moral Law 
and the informations of Faith, as they present themselves 
to individual minds. Who can deny the existence of 
Conscience? who does not feel the force of its injunctions? 
but how dim is the illumination in which it is invested, and 
how feeble its influence, compared with that evidence of sight 
and touch which is the foundation of Physical Science! How 
easily can we be talked out of our clearest views of duty! 
how does this or that moral precept crumble into nothing 
when we rudely handle it! how does the fear of sin pass off 
from us as quickly as the glow of modesty dies away from the 
countenance! and then we say: "It is all superstition ! " 
However, after a time we look round, and then to our sur- 
prise we see, as before, the same law of duty, the same moral 
precepts, the same protests against sin, appearing over 
against us in their old places as if they never had been 
brushed away, like the Divine handwriting upon the wall 
at the banquet. Then perhaps we approach them rudely 
and inspect them irreverently, and accost them sceptically, 
and away they go again, like so many spectres, shining in 
their cold beauty but not presenting themselves bodily to us 
for our inspection, so to say, of their hands and their feet. 
And thus these awful, supernatural, bright, majestic, delicate 
apparitions, much as we may in our hearts acknowledge 
their sovereignty, are no match as a foundation of Science 
for the hard, palpable, material facts which make up the 
province of Physics.' 

What, then, is the force which will give to these 'appari- 
tions' the permanence and stability they need if they are to 
be our stay in life, if we are to feel their reality as we feel the 
world of sense to be real; if we are to rest on them as the 
foundation of our hopes for the future? The Church which, 
by her liturgy and theology and by the constant preaching of 
her ministers, keeps those truths energetically before us and 
represents them as ever-living principles of action, is here 
our great support. 

UNIVERSITY LECTURES (1854-1858) 415 

That great institution, then, the Catholic Church/ he 
continues 'has been set up by Divine Mercy as a present, 
visible antagonist, and the only possible antagonist, to sight 
and sense. Conscience, reason, good feeling, the instincts of 
our moral nature, the traditions of Faith, the conclusions and 
deductions of philosophical Religion, are no match at all for 
the stubborn facts (for they are facts though there are other 
facts besides them), for the facts which are the foundation of 
physical science. Gentlemen, if you feel as you must feel 
the whisper of the law of moral truth within you, and the 
impulse to believe, be sure there is nothing whatever on earth 
which can be the sufficient champion of these sovereign 
authorities of your soul, which can vindicate and preserve 
them to you and make you loyal to them, but the Catholic 
Church. You fear they will go, you see with dismay that 
they are going, under the continual impression created on 
your mind by the details of the material science to which 
you have devoted your lives. It is so, I do not deny it; 
except under rare and happy circumstances, go they will 
unless you have Catholicism to back you up in keeping 
faithful to them. The world is a rough antagonist of spir- 
itual truth; sometimes with mailed hand, sometimes with 
pertinacious logic, sometimes with a storm of irresistible 
facts, it presses on against you. What it says is true per- 
haps as far as it goes, but it is not the whole truth or the 
most important truth. These more important truths which 
the natural heart admits in their substance, though it can- 
not maintain, the being of a God, the certainty of future 
retribution, the claims of the moral law, the reality of sin, 
the hope of supernatural help, of these the Church is in 
matter of fact the undaunted and the only defender. . . . 
She is ever the same, ever young and vigorous, and ever 
overcoming new errors with the old weapons. , . . Cathol- 
icism is the strength of Religion, as Science and System are 
the strength of Knowledge.' 

This was, as I have said, his last lecture in Dublin. And 
he parted from his hearers with a note of great simplicity 
and great humility. He could not but feel that his strenuous 
effort at intellectual enlargement was not in harmony with 
the views of those on whom the University most closely 
depended. He did not change his own opinion as to 
its necessity. He believed that, for thorough health and 
efficiency in the Catholic body, it was essential. He 


believed that the time had come when it was desirable to 
act on his view of the case. Yet as ever he c spoke under 
correction.' It might be that at present speculation would 
get so far out of hand, if let loose, that the faith would be 
widely lost. It might be that greater caution than he 
himself saw to be desirable was really necessary. A great 
intellectual sacrifice might still be demanded of Catholics as 
the price of what was far higher namely, their Faith. He 
did not think so; but he would now as ever bow to the 
Church and obey her if such was the opinion and decision of 
her rulers. 

'Trust the Church of God implicitly/ he said, 'even when 
your natural judgment would take a different course from 
hers, and would induce you to question her prudence or her 
correctness. Recollect what a hard task she has; how she 
is sure to be criticized and spoken against whatever she does; 
recollect how much she needs' your loyal and tender devo- 
tion. Recollect, too, how' long is the experience gained in 
eighteen hundred years,, and what a right she has to claim 
your assent to principles which have had so extended and so 
triumphant a trial. Thank her that she has kept the Faith 
safe for so many generations, and do your part in helping 
her to transmit it to generations after you.' 



I HAVE already said that the renewal of Newman's term 
of office as Rector of the Catholic University of Ireland at 
the end of 1857 proved little more than nominal. Fresh 
engagements soon absorbed his time and his thoughts during 
this period the proposed new translation of Scripture, the 
conduct of the Rambler magazine, the foundation of the 
Oratory School. He did not set foot in Ireland until 
near the end of 1858, and then it was only to wind up^his 
affairs as Rector preliminary to 1 final resignation. Of the 
circumstances which ultimately led him to insist on resign- 
ing in place of still giving his name as Rector, a full account 
shall be given later on. For the moment we must speak 
of the special works which occupied him in 1858. 

Newman was in constant correspondence with Mr. 
John Moore Capes, the Editor of the Rambler, to whom refer- 
ence has- already been made, and it was becoming evident to 
him that the keener and more active thinkers among English 
Catholics needed a guiding hand. They were reacting fiercely 
against the exuberant, and at times extravagant, statements 
on matters of doctrine or devotion which the writings of 
Louis Veuillot and Abbe Gaume presented in France, and 
those of Father Fabe